All games in the 2021 March Madness NCAA men’s basketball championship tournaments will be played in Indiana, with Indianapolis hosting Division I, Evansville hosting Division II and Fort Wayne hosting Division III.
Games will be played on two courts inside Lucas Oil Stadium, as well as Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Hinkle Fieldhouse, Indiana Farmers Coliseum, Mackey Arena in West Lafayette and Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall in Bloomington. Only one game at a time will be played at Lucas Oil Stadium. The Indiana Convention Center will be used as a practice facility, with multiple courts set up inside the venue.
“This is a historic moment for NCAA members and the state of Indiana,” NCAA President Mark Emmert said in a press statement. “We have worked tirelessly to reimagine a tournament structure that maintains our unique championship opportunity for college athletes. The reality of today’s announcement was possible thanks to the tremendous leadership of our membership, local authorities and staff.”
The teams will not be placed in a bubble a la Orlando and the NBA, but they will be in Indianapolis under some controlled circumstances. The tournament will be hosted by Ball State, Butler, the Horizon League, Indiana, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis and Purdue, which are lending their facilities and staffs to assist with tournament operations. Marriott properties, an official NCAA corporate partner, will house most of the tournament teams. The properties are connected to the convention center via skywalks and within a controlled environment. All teams will be housed on dedicated hotel floors, with physically distanced meeting and dining rooms, as well as secure transportation to and from competition venues.
Otherwise, the scheduling for the tournament will remain the same. Selection Sunday is still scheduled for March 14, and plans remain to have the Final Four on April 3 and 5, with exact preliminary-round dates to be determined.
One issue to be determined: whether fans will be allowed into games, and that’s a decision that won’t be made until we get closer to tourney time. As of now a limited number of family members of each participating team’s student-athletes and coaches will be permitted to attend their team’s games. Details pertaining to the possible allocation of other tickets will be finalized later, as will any decision about fan events.
“The 2021 version of March Madness will be one to remember, if for no other reason than the uniqueness of the event,” said NCAA Senior Vice President of Basketball Dan Gavitt in a press statement. “With the direction of the Men’s Basketball Committee, we are making the most of the circumstances the global pandemic has presented. We’re fortunate to have neighbors and partners in Indianapolis and surrounding communities who not only love the game of basketball as much as anyone else in the country but have a storied history when it comes to staging major sporting events.
“This is going to be complicated and difficult; there’s no question about that.”
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