Yale to host 2019 Ivy Madness

Matthew Mister

In preparation for the first ever Ivy League Basketball Tournaments two seasons ago, the Ivy League branded the 2017 regular season the “Path to the Palestra.” This coming season, the conference might instead pick a slogan like the “Journey to JLA.”

The Ivy League announced on Thursday that the 2019 men’s and women’s basketball tournaments will be held on Yale’s campus at John J. Lee Amphitheater. The conference’s marquee event — nicknamed Ivy Madness — has been held at the Palestra at Penn each of the last two seasons, but will move to New Haven next year.

“We look forward to bringing the Ivy League Basketball Tournaments to another historic Ivy League venue in 2019,” Ivy League Executive Director Robin Harris said. “We anticipate another electrifying atmosphere in New Haven.”

Despite the change in venue, the format of Ivy Madness remains the same as in the last two years. The top four teams in the men’s and women’s regular season standings will play in four semifinals on Saturday, March 16. The two finals will tip off on Sunday, with the winners of each earning the conference’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.

The conference also announced on Thursday that the order of Saturday’s semifinals will be the same as last year. The two men’s games will be held in the early afternoon — 12:30 p.m. and 3 p.m. — and the women’s semifinals will follow in the early evening with the first one beginning at 6 p.m.

In moving the tournament to New Haven for 2019, the Ancient Eight leaves the Palestra — nicknamed the “Cathedral of College Basketball” — for the arena inside Payne Whitney Gymnasium, which was opened in 1932 and is often called the “Cathedral of Sweat.”

The change in venue limits the number of tickets that can be sold. While the Palestra seats nearly 9,000, JLA has a capacity of just 2,800, according to Yale Athletics.

The Ivy League has yet to determine the site for the 2020 tournament.