NEW YORK (AP) - The NCAA tournament starts in less than two weeks. Madison Square Garden is getting ready to host again in a little more than a year.
College basketball's biggest event returns to the Garden next season for the first time since 1961. Back then, it wasn't even the same building that has the name now.
The East Regional semifinals and final will be played in the Garden on March 28 and 30, 2014 - just 54 weeks away.
It seems almost impossible that the NCAA tournament has stayed away for more than 50 years.
Willie Hall played for St. John's in that tripleheader in March 1961. He reminisced a bit about that day, but his thoughts quickly changed to New York City's attitude toward college basketball.
"You have to be a winner in this city or they just won't pay any attention to you," he said. "That's the way it's always been here and it will never change."
Floyd Layne and Ron Nadel were also at the news conference on Saturday. They were members of the CCNY team that won both the NCAA tournament and NIT in 1950, a feat that will remain unmatched because teams can no longer play in both events. That NCAA title game was the last played in Madison Square Garden.
Layne, who is still coaching at George Washington High School, said the best thing about the Garden has always been its ability to draw the nation's best teams.
Showing his age - he's in his early 80s - Layne said the best thing about the Garden was the G.O. card, which allowed students to get in to see a game for 25 or 50 cents. He was told if he found his G.O. card it would cost much more than a quarter or two to get in the building next year.