Modifications to the March Insanity schedule could cause the best day (or days) in NCAA event historical past
The March Madness 2021 opening Thursday will not be the same. It has always been a holiday for college basketball fans – some of whom had planned vacation days set in a sick or skipped school – to sit at home and play in a 16-game day of the first round of the NCAA tournament.
The challenges of dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic convinced the NCAA to postpone the start of the tournament known as the First Four to Thursday, March 18.
However, wait to hear what the tradeoff will be for this switch to tradition: probably the biggest two days of college basketball action of our lives.
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The Sweet 16 games, which will be played at Bankers Life Fieldhouse and Hinkle Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, will be played sequentially on March 27th and 28th. These games will not overlap. Four games are played in a row every day, so fans don’t have to decide which matchup is more attractive. You can watch each of them in turn: four on Saturday, four on Sunday.
You no longer need a second screen or space in a sports bar to see what’s going on – just a really comfortable chair and a full fridge.
For this year, there won’t be a choice between simultaneous classics like LSU-Texas and UCLA-Gonzaga, played in the same window on a Thursday night in 2006, or Virginia Tech-Duke and Kentucky-Houston, which shared the same time window on late Friday in the last NCAA tournament we had in 2019.
A college basketball season like no other ends with an NCAA tournament like no other.
In the case of March Madness, that could be a good thing.
Revised March Madness schedule for 2021
First four: Thursday March 18, Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall (Bloomington, Ind.) And Mackey Arena (West Lafayette, Ind.).
First round: Friday March 19 and Saturday March 20, Auditorium, Mackey Arena; Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Indiana Farmers Coliseum, Hinkle Fieldhouse and Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.
Second round: Sunday March 20 and Monday March 21 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Indiana Farmers Coliseum, Hinkle Fieldhouse, and Lucas Oil Stadium.
Regional semi-finals: Saturday, March 27 and Sunday, March 28, Bankers Life Fieldhouse and Hinkle Fieldhouse.
Regional finals: Monday March 29th and Tuesday March 30th, Lucas Oil Stadium.
Last four: Saturday April 3rd, Lucas Oil Stadium.
NCAA championship: Monday April 5th, Lucas Oil Stadium.