By Harvey Hoffman
The 2021 NCAA basketball tournament will be unlike any March Madness that has come before.
Just a year ago, all the conferences were playing their tournaments to prepare for a run to the title, and COVID-19 stopped all that.
So next month’s tourney will be the first since 2019.
The NCAA announced in early January the entire 2021 men’s basketball championship will be played in Indiana, with the majority of the tournament’s 67 games taking place in Indianapolis. Selection Sunday is scheduled for March 14, with the Final Four scheduled for April 3 and 5. The NCAA also announced exact preliminary-round dates in January.
Here’s the schedule:
- Selection Sunday — 6 p.m. ET March 14
- First Four — 4 p.m. start on Thursday, March 18
- First round — 12 p.m. start on Friday, March 19, and Saturday, March 20
- Second round — 12 p.m. start on Sunday, March 21, and Monday, March 22
- Sweet 16 — 2 p.m. start on Saturday, March 27, and 1 p.m. start on Sunday, March 28
- Elite Eight — 7 p.m. start on Monday, March 29, and 6 p.m. start on Tuesday, March 30
- Final Four — 5 p.m. start on Saturday, April 3
- NCAA championship game — 9 p.m. Monday, April 5
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. Teams will practice at the Indiana Convention Center with multiple courts set up inside the venue. 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.
CBS Sports and Turner Sports will continue to show all 67 games of the tournament across TBS, CBS, TNT, truTV and their digital platforms, including March Madness Live.
Here is the schedule with more detail, as it stands now. All dates are tentative because of changing conditions brought about by COVID-19.
|ROUND||TIME, DATES||TV CHANNELS|
|Selection Show||6 p.m. Sunday, March 14||CBS|
|First Four||4 p.m. coverage start on Thursday, March 18||truTV, TBS|
|First Round||12 p.m. coverage start on Friday, March 19 |
and Saturday, March 20
|TBS, CBS, TNT, truTV|
|Second Round||12 p.m. starts on Sunday, March 21 |
and Monday, March 22
|TBS, CBS, TNT, truTV|
|Sweet 16||2 p.m. and 7 p.m. on Saturday, March 27 and 1 p.m. |
and 7 p.m. on Sunday, March 28
|CBS (afternoon games), TBS (primetime games)|
|Elite Eight||7 p.m. start on Monday, March 29 and 6 p.m. |
coverage start on Tuesday, March 30
|CBS (Monday) and TBS (Tuesday)|
|Final Four||Games start 5 p.m. Saturday, April 3||CBS|
|National Championship||9 p.m. Monday, April 5|