Wednesday, February 1, 2023

March Madness Schedule Changes Could Create Biggest Days (Or Days) In NCAA Tournament History

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The Thursday opening of March Madness 2021 will not be the same. It has always been a holiday for college basketball fans – some of whom have planned vacation days, called school sick, or missed school – to stay home and binge on the day. ‘a day filled with 16 NCAA tournament first round games.

The challenges of managing the COVID-19 pandemic have convinced the NCAA to postpone the start of the tournament, known as the first four, to Thursday, March 18.

Wait until you hear, though, what the tradeoff will be for this change in tradition: quite possibly the two greatest days of college basketball action of our lives.

MORE: Why the NCAA Selection Committee better not ruin the 21 tournament

The Sweet 16 games, which will be played at Bankers Life Fieldhouse and Hinkle Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, will take place in sequence on March 27-28. There will be no overlap between these games. There will be four matches a day, played one after the other, so fans won’t have to choose the most attractive match. You can watch them one after the other: four on Saturday, four on Sunday.

No longer will you need a second screen or a seat in a sports bar to see all the action – just a super comfy chair and a stocked fridge.

There will be, for this year, no more choice between concurrent classics like LSU-Texas and UCLA-Gonzaga, which were played in the same window on a Thursday night in 2006, or Virginia Tech-Duke and Kentucky-Houston, who shared the same late Friday time slot in the most recent NCAA tournament we had, in 2019.

A college basketball season like no other will end 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, Assembly Hall, Mackey Arena; Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Indiana Farmers Coliseum, Hinkle Fieldhouse, and Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.

Second turn: Sunday March 20 and Monday March 21, 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 29 and Tuesday March 30, Lucas Oil Stadium.

Final square: Saturday April 3, Lucas Oil Stadium.

NCAA Championship: Monday April 5, Lucas Oil Stadium.


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