Some of college basketball's best players and teams will be back in Minneapolis soon, coming off the success of the NCAA women's Final Four.
The Big Ten women's basketball tournament will be played at Target Center next season, and the conference's men's and women's tournaments will both be there in 2024, the conference announced Wednesday.
Minneapolis made its mark in big-time hoops again this year with one of the most anticipated Final Fours for women in years, which ended with South Carolina defeating Connecticut in the NCAA title game on April 4 at Target Center.
The Big Ten hopes to recapture some of that enthusiasm when Target Center hosts the women's tournament March 1-5 next season and March 6-10 in 2024.
Chicago hosts the Big Ten men's basketball tournament next year, but that event will make its Minneapolis debut after the women's tourney during the 2023-24 season on March 13-17 at Target Center.
"You look at what just happened with the women's Final Four just recently," Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren said Wednesday on Big Ten Network. "I was able to attend those events. The crowds were incredible. The energy in Minneapolis was outstanding."
Minneapolis will be the fifth different city to host the Big Ten men's basketball tournament since its inaugural year in 1998, joining Indianapolis, Chicago, Washington D.C. and New York.
Starting in 2025, the Big Ten will select locations for the tournaments every two years, and the men's and women's events could be held in the same city, as will happen in Minneapolis in 2024.
"We just feel there's a lot of natural energy and synergy that's built from one tournament to the next," Big Ten deputy commissioner Diana Sabau said. "That's a new format moving forward as we keep building on success of our championships and our tournaments."
The Big Ten football championship game will be played in Indianapolis in 2023 and 2024, the league also announced Wednesday.
Request for proposals (RFPs) were sent to the Big Ten from a wide range of cities within the conference footprint. A group comprised of athletic directors, senior women's administrators and faculty representatives from all 14 Big Ten schools voted to bring both of the league's basketball tournaments to the Twin Cities for the first time.
In 2019, U.S. Bank Stadium also hosted the NCAA men's Final Four with Virginia defeating Texas Tech in a thrilling overtime game for the national championship.
Gophers women's basketball coach Lindsay Whalen knows how much the city and state can rally around women's hoops. Fans came out in full force to support her Lynx teams during WNBA championship runs and the Gophers during her Final Four as a player.
"Minneapolis is the perfect city to host the next two years of the Big Ten Women's Basketball Tournament and I'm thrilled for our fans to have this opportunity to enjoy the highest level of women's college basketball," Whalen said in a statement. "We've seen when women's sports are supported, as they are in Minnesota, they can bring in massive audiences"
Warren, who spent about 15 years as a head administrator with the Vikings, expressed confidence that Minnesota's fanbase and the business community will take full advantage of another opportunity to showcase why basketball means so much to the area.
"The Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul know how to host big events," Warren said Wednesday. "They absolutely love sports, and they love basketball. Not only basketball but men's and women's basketball. I'm excited to be able to have these events there."