The NCAA men's basketball tournament will look very different this year. On Monday, the NCAA announced that the tournament will stage the entire 2021 men's basketball championship in Indiana. The majority of games will occur in Indianapolis while some of the games will take place in Bloomington and West Lafayette.
"This is a historic moment for NCAA members and the state of Indiana," NCAA President Mark Emmert said in a 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 venues that will be used to play games in Indianapolis will be the Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Hinkle Fieldhouse and Indiana Farmers Coliseum. The Mackey Arena and West Lafayette and Assembly Hall in Bloomington will also be used to host tournament games. The NCAA is partnering with a local health provider to administer COVID-19 testing. The majority of the 68 teams will stay in hotels connected to the Indiana Convention Center, which will also be used as a practice facility. Selection Sunday is scheduled for March 4 and the Final Four is set for April 3 and 5 at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.
"The 2021 version of March Madness will be one to remember, if for no other reason than the uniqueness of the event," NCAA Senior Vice President of Basketball Dan Gavitt said in a 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 a big step for the NCAA considering the tournament was not played last year. At that time, the COVID-19 pandemic was in the early stages and sports leagues across the world were being postponed. Back in November, the NCAA announced the entire tournament will take place in one city. It was also reported that the NCAA lost $375 million for the cancellation of the tournament in 2020.