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Monday, January 4, 2021

NCAA announces agreement to host entire 2021 men’s basketball tourney in Indiana

Kansas sophomore Christian Braun finishes off a dunk during a game against Kentucky Tuesday night during the Champions Classic inside Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis on Dec. 1, 2020. Photo courtesy of Phil Ellsworth of ESPN.

Kansas sophomore Christian Braun finishes off a dunk during a game against Kentucky Tuesday night during the Champions Classic inside Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis on Dec. 1, 2020. Photo courtesy of Phil Ellsworth of ESPN.

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The NCAA announced Monday that all 67 men’s basketball tournament games including the Final Four will be played entirely in Indiana in a bid to keep the marquee event from being called off for a second consecutive year because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Games will be played on two courts inside Lucas Oil Stadium as well as at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Hinkle Fieldhouse, Indiana Farmers Coliseum, Mackey Arena at Purdue and Assembly Hall in Bloomington. Only one game at a time will be played at Lucas Oil Stadium.

Championship weekend is still scheduled for April 3 and April 5 but preliminary round dates have not yet been determined.

Ball State, Butler, Indiana, IUPUI, Purdue and the Horizon League will co-host the tournament and NCAA officials say most games will be played in Indianapolis. The NCAA also will partner with a local health provider to administer COVID-19 testing for players, coaches, school administrators and officials.

CBS Sports and Turner Sports will continue to distribute all 67 games of the tournament across TBS, CBS, TNT and truTV and their digital platforms.

The NCAA had said it intended to play the entire tourney in one locale and that Indianapolis, where the governing body is headquartered, would be the likely place. The Final Four had already been scheduled to take place at Lucas Oil Stadium in April.

Plus, there are dozens of hotels and restaurants within walking distance of multiple basketball venues with additional practice facilities and courts just a short drive away from downtown Indianapolis.

What’s still to be determined is how many fans will be allowed inside the venues. NCAA officials said a limited number of family members of players and coaches could attend games but decisions about expanding attendance or conducting fan events will be announced later.

“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. “We are making the most of the circumstances the (COVID-19) global pandemic has presented. ... This is going to be complicated and difficult; there’s no question about that.”

Comments

Robert Brock 1 month, 3 weeks ago

The players will have in-room movie viewing in their hotel rooms. The only film: “Hoosiers.”

Adam Bengtson 1 month, 3 weeks ago

Why not just play in mask and gloves. If anyone touches anyone, make it a foul.

Len Shaffer 1 month, 3 weeks ago

That's hysterically funny, Adam. No, instead let's hold the tournament as usual and have a whole bunch of super-spreader events.

Bryce Landon 1 month, 3 weeks ago

Why the hell didn't they do it this way last year? I'm still pissed that they ripped the 2020 Tournament, especially considering Kansas was in prime position to win the national title, and for what? For a fraction of a percentage of a chance that someone might get sick? If the Woodstock music festival could be held in the middle of the Hong Kong Flu Pandemic of 1968-1970, they could have held the 2020 NCAA Basketball Tournament at the beginning of the COVID-19 Pandemic!

Canceling last year's tournament wasn't about protecting fans and players from getting sick. It was about protecting the NCAA from lawsuits from unscrupulous fans and bloodsucking lawyers looking for a cash grab.

Robert Brock 1 month, 3 weeks ago

OK Bryce, we have you down as a bona fide QAnon Conspiracy nut.

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