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2021 NCAA Men's Tournament to Be Played in One Location; Indianapolis Under Consideration


The NCAA will move the 2021 NCAA men's basketball tournament to a single location "to enhance the safety and well-being of the event."

The NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Committee announced on Monday that it was in preliminary talks with the city of Indianapolis to potentially host the 68-team tournament in March and April. Indianapolis was already slated to host the Men's Final Four, which is April 3–5, 2021.

The tournament was set to be held in 13 preliminary sites around the country, but the committee decided that could be "difficult to execute" during the COVID-19 pandemic. Holding the tournament in one location provides a more controlled environment for teams to play and practice and reduces travel.

"My committee colleagues and I did not come lightly to the difficult decision to relocate the preliminary rounds of the 2021 tournament, as we understand the disappointment 13 communities will feel to miss out on being part of March Madness next year," said Mitch Barnhart, chair of the Division I Men's Basketball Committee and University of Kentucky athletics director. 

"With the University of Kentucky slated to host first- and second-round games in March, this is something that directly impacts our school and community, so we certainly share in their regret. The committee and staff deeply appreciate the efforts of all the host institutions and conferences, and we look forward to bringing the tournament back to the impacted sites in future years."

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Last season, the 2020 NCAA men's tournament was canceled in March amid the pandemic.

NCAA vice president of basketball Dan Gavitt confirmed to reporters on Monday that the 2021 tournament is still moving forward to be played in March and April as scheduled. Gavitt said the NCAA is "hopeful" to have fans at games but a decision has not been reached.

The tournament's relocation comes after the NCAA pushed back the start of the 2020–21 college basketball season from Nov. 10 to Nov. 25.

Mohegan Sun, a resort casino in Uncasville, Conn., reportedly will be the home to nearly 45 games for nearly 40 college basketball teams when the season starts. The resort will host games for an 11-day period—Nov. 25 to Dec. 5—that includes 40 men's and women's teams that will participate in multi-team events and standalone games. 

Notable teams participating in Bubbleville include UConn (both men and women), and men's teams from Baylor, Villanova, Virginia, Arizona State, Oregon and Florida.

Later on Monday, the NCAA released an update on the 2021 Division I women's basketball tournament, and the committee intends to maintain a field of 64 teams. Due to the pandemic, the committee is weighing its options for how to hold the tournament, including reducing the number of first- and second-round sites or having the entire event in one location.