The 2021 NCAA Division I men's basketball tournament will begin Thursday, March 18, with the First Four games hosted at Mackey Arena and Assembly Hall, the organization announced Tuesday.
Previously announced were the locations for the tournament, which included Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Lucas Oil Stadium, Hinkle Fieldhouse (Butler) and Indiana Farmers Coliseum (IUPUI) in Indianapolis. The University of Indiana's Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall in Bloomington and Purdue’s Mackey Arena in West Lafayette were also announced as host sites.
Selection Sunday is still scheduled for March 14, with the Final Four and national championship taking place April 3 and 5, respectively.
First round games will take place Friday, March 19, and Saturday, March 20, at all host sites. The four venues in Indianapolis will host the rest of the tournament, starting with second round games, Sunday, March 21, and Monday, March 22.
The Sweet 16 kicks off inside Bankers Life Fieldhouse and Hinkle Fieldhouse Saturday, March 27, and Sunday, March 28. The tournament will then shift to one venue — Lucas Oil Stadium — to host the Elite Eight (March 29-30) and Final Four.
“The 2021 March Madness schedule is primarily a function of the health and safety protocols for all participants, respecting conference tournaments, balancing time away from campus for college student-athletes, competitive considerations for a national championship and fan engagement during a relatively traditional tournament timetable,” said Dan Gavitt, the NCAA's senior vice president of basketball, in the release.
“We are most appreciative of CBS Sports and Turner Sports for their collaboration and support of the tournament,” he continued.
After losing to Baylor Tuesday night, Kansas men’s basketball is currently 10-4 (4-3 in Big 12 play) on the season and projected as a No. 3 seed in the 2021 NCAA Tournament, according to the latest mock bracket released by ESPN’s Joe Lunardi Tuesday.
Kansas is also off to its worst start in conference play since the 1988-89 season — also the last time the Jayhawks failed to make the NCAA tournament.
Next up for Kansas is a road game against Oklahoma Saturday. Tipoff is set for 11 a.m.