Indiana to Host Entire NCAA Tournament
The NCAA announced on Monday that the entire 2021 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament will be held in Indianapolis and the surrounding areas.
This idea was first discussed back in November, but it became official this week.
Sixty-eight teams will once again participate in the NCAA Tournament, and a majority of the games will be played at multiple venues in Indianapolis. Since there aren’t enough courts or space in Indianapolis, Bloomington and West Lafayette will also be used as NCAA Tournament venues.
The Indiana Convention Center will host a majority of the teams, and that location will also be used as a practice facility. The NCAA will be creating a “bubble-like” atmosphere, but they are calling it a “controlled environment.”
Mackey Arena, home of the Purdue Boilermakers, in West Lafayette will serve as one of the sites, while Assembly Hall, home of the Indiana Hoosiers, in Bloomington will serve as another.
In Indianapolis, Indiana Farmers Coliseum, Bankers Life Fieldhouse, and Hinkle Fieldhouse will all host games. It’s unclear how the bracket will be broken down, but the NCAA will eventually transition all of the games to Indianapolis.
Marion County officials have approved this plan by the NCAA, and this was the final step to naming Indianapolis as the host. Local health officials will handle all of the COVID-19 testings, and rapid results will be available.
The dates of the upcoming NCAA Tournament have not changed, and Selection Sunday is still slated for March 14. The Final Four will be held on April 3 and April 5.
The NCAA reportedly lost close to $400 million last year with the cancellation of the 2020 NCAA Tournament. Coaches from around the country have supported this decision to host all of the games in one location in an effort to save the tournament.
Decisions Still to Come
The NCAA tournament committee still has a number of questions that remain, and plans aren’t expected to be finalized for a few more weeks. One of the biggest questions to answer is what to do in the case of a positive COVID-19 test.
It is expected that there will be a pool of replacement teams available, and they could take over if one team was forced to leave the controlled environment. Another option would be to have that team forfeit and simply move another team forward in the bracket.
The COVID-19 testing policy has also not officially been announced, but it has been discussed by the executive committee. Testing will be done, but it’s unclear how frequently athletes and coaching staff will be tested.
It also has not been decided if fans will be allowed to attend any of the games for the upcoming NCAA Tournament. The NCAA wants the ability to make money off of the event, but safety will take precedence over ticket sales.
Now that an official location has been set for the 2021 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, the committee can start to finalize the details before a complete plan is revealed.
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