The NCAA Announces Dates and Locations for 2021 Men's Basketball Tournament

Selection Sunday will happen on March 14 with the National Championship taking place on Monday, April 5.
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The NCAA, on Tuesday, announced the dates and locations for the 2021 NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Tournament, which will take place in and around the Indianapolis, Indiana area.

While several things will stay the same in terms of the schedule, you should prepare yourself, dear college basketball fan, that there will also be quite a lot that’s different.

Here’s what we know, so far.

SCHEDULE

Ultimately, the tournament will play out over the same length of time as normal (22 days from Selection Sunday until the National Championship game), however, the games will be spread out differently than in a typical year.

Usually, the First Four games take place on the Tuesday and Wednesday following Selection Sunday. This year, all four will happen on the Thursday following Selection Sunday, when the first round usually starts.

The first and second rounds will be pushed back one day, because of the First Four games, and will therefore run from Friday through Monday, rather than Thursday through Sunday.

The Sweet 16 and Elite Eight will also be pushed back, by two days, from their standard schedule. So rather than running from Thursday through Sunday of the second weekend of the tournament, those games will take place Saturday through Tuesday.

Finally, the Final Four and National Championship games will happen on the Saturday and Monday of the third weekend of the tournament, just like they usually do.

So, as you can see, from a date standpoint, it’s the bookends that will stay the same (Selection Sunday, Final Four, National Championship) and the middle that will be adjusted (1st round, 2nd round, Sweet 16, Elite Eight).

*Note: The full schedule with dates is listed below.*

LOCATIONS

As mentioned above, the entirety of the tournament will take place in and around Indianapolis. The tournament will take place at six different sites, four of which are in Indianapolis proper, while the other two are just over an hour away from downtown.

The First Four games will be held at two different venues - Mackey Arena in West Lafayette (Purdue University) and Assembly Hall in Bloomington (University of Indiana).

Those two locations will be joined by Bankers Life Fieldhouse (Indiana Pacers, Indiana Fever, Indiana Ice), Hinkle Fieldhouse (Butler University), Indiana Farmers Coliseum (state fairgrounds, Indy Fuel, IUPUI), and Lucas Oil Stadium (Indianapolis Colts, Indy Eleven) for first-round games.

Second-round games will take place at the four Indianapolis proper locations. Bankers Life Fieldhouse and Hinkle Fieldhouse will then host the Sweet 16. All remaining match-ups (Elite Eight, Final Four, National Championship) will be played at Lucas Oil Stadium.

TIMES

Specific game times have not been announced but the NCAA has provided some general direction. Their press release states that “viewers can expect games in typical broadcast windows, with first- and second-round games on TBS, CBS, TNT and truTV.”

As play moves to the Sweet 16, each game will have its own television window rather than the overlapping time slots that occur in a typical season.

The Elite Eight games will happen in prime time. With the Final Four and National Championship happening in their usual slots, it’s safe to assume that the times will be standard as well.

Here’s the full schedule for your perusal:

  • Sunday, March 14 – Selection Sunday
  • Thursday, March 18 – First Four
      • Mackey Arena
      • Assembly Hall
  • Friday, March 19 and Saturday, March 20 – First Round
      • Mackey Arena
      • Assembly Hall
      • Bankers Life Fieldhouse
      • Hinkle Fieldhouse
      • Indiana Farmers Coliseum
      • Lucas Oil Stadium
  • Sunday, March 21 and Monday, March 22 – Second Round
      • Bankers Life Fieldhouse
      • Hinkle Fieldhouse
      • Indiana Farmers Coliseum
      • Lucas Oil Stadium
  • Saturday, March 27 and Sunday, March 28 – Sweet 16
      • Bankers Life Fieldhouse
      • Hinkle Fieldhouse
  • Monday, March 29 and Tuesday, March 30 – Elite Eight
      • Lucas Oil Stadium
  • Saturday, April 3 – Final Four
      • Lucas Oil Stadium
  • Monday, April 5 – National Championship
      • Lucas Oil Stadium

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