march madness


March Madness, to be played entirely in Indiana, will alter the weekly calendar and have games played on Monday and Tuesday this year.

The NCAA men’s basketball tournament schedule was announced on Jan. 19 and the 2021 tournament will begin with the First Four on March 18, a Thursday. Mackey Arena in West Lafayette and Assembly Hall in Bloomington will each host two games that day.

Those buildings — the homes for Purdue and Indiana — will join Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Hinkle Fieldhouse, Indiana Farmers Coliseum and Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis as hosts of first-round games on Friday and Saturday, March 19 and 20.

Second-round games on March 21 and 22, a Sunday and Monday, will be played at the four Indianapolis sites.

The Sweet 16 games will be played at Bankers Life and Hinkle on March 27 and 28, a Saturday and Sunday, and each game will have its own television window. There had been overlap in past years.

The final games

The Elite Eight games are set for March 29 and 30, in prime time on a Monday and Tuesday. The Final Four remains on its original dates of Saturday, April 3 and Monday, April 5 at Lucas Oil Stadium.

The 68-team field will be announced on March 14 and games will be televised by CBS, TBS, TNT and truTV.

The NCAA Tournament was canceled last season with the COVID-19 pandemic shutting down sports days before Selection Sunday. Kansas finished the season as the nation’s top-ranked team.

“The 2021 March Madness schedule is primarily a function of the health and safety protocols for all participants, respecting conference tournaments, balancing time away from campus for college student-athletes, competitive considerations for a national championship and fan engagement during a relatively traditional tournament timetable,” said Dan Gavitt, the NCAA’s senior vice president of basketball.

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