Seth Udinski, FISM News
The NCAA March Madness men’s basketball tournament will return in 2021, after the 2020 tournament was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In the sports world, college basketball fans suffered the most from the 2020 shutdown, as all professional and amateur sports were universally canceled just days before the 2020 March Madness tournament was set to begin. To the delight of fans, the tournament will be played once again in March of 2021 with some changes.
The number of qualifying college teams remains 68, with two”play-in” games to begin the tournament. Once the field of 64 is set, the teams will be split into four separate brackets as usual, but every game will be played at various arenas in the greater Indianapolis region. The national semifinals and national championship game will take place at Lucas Oil Stadium, home of the NFL’s Indianapolis Colts.
The players and coaches will reside at the Indianapolis Convention Center’s affiliated hotels, where they will be required to follow social distancing and safety measures. Fans will be allowed in the stands, but at limited capacity. For the national semifinal and national championship games at Lucas Oil Stadium, which can hold over 60,000 fans, there will be a capacity cap of 25%, allowing roughly 15,000 fans to attend.
The tournament will commence on Thursday, March 18 with the “first four” games. The first round, second round, Sweet 16, and Elite 8 will follow over the subsequent two weeks. The national semifinal games will be played on Saturday, April 3, and the National Championship game will be played on Monday, April 5.
🚨 #MarchMadness Scheduling Update!
🏀 March 18 – First Four
🏀 March 19/20 – First Round
🏀 March 21/22 – Second Round
🏀 March 27/28 – Sweet 16
🏀 March 29/30 – Elite 8
🏀 April 3 – Final Four
🏀 April 5 – National Championship
— NCAA March Madness (@marchmadness) January 19, 2021