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NCAA hosting entire basketball championship in Indiana

Indiana will host the entire 2021 men’s basketball championship, with the majority of the tournament’s 67 games taking place in Indianapolis.

INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana will host the entire 2021 men’s basketball championship, with the majority of the tournament’s 67 games taking place in Indianapolis.  

Selection Sunday is still scheduled for March 14, and plans are to still have the Final Four on April 3 and 5, with exact preliminary round dates to be determined. 

"This is a historic moment for NCAA members and the state of Indiana," said Mark Emmert, NCAA president. "We have worked tirelessly to reimagine a tournament structure that maintains our unique championship opportunity for college athletes. The reality of today's announcement was possible thanks to the tremendous leadership of our membership, local authorities and staff."

The tournament will be hosted by Ball State, Butler, the Horizon League, Indiana, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis and Purdue. They'll all be lending their facilities and staffs for tournament operations. 

The Indiana Convention Center will be used as a practice facility, with multiple courts set up inside the venue. Marriott properties will house most of the tournament teams. The properties are connected to the convention center via skywalks and within a controlled environment. All teams will be housed on dedicated hotel floors, with physically distanced meeting and dining rooms, as well as secure transportation to and from competition venues.

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

Credit: WTHR

"This is going to be complicated and difficult; there’s no question about that. We appreciate the collaboration among the Men’s Basketball Committee and staff, our hosts and local organizers, the staffs at each practice and competition venue, and our broadcast and corporate partners. We will all pull together and stage a terrific national championship," said Dan Gavitt, NCAA senior vice president of basketball.

"We have a real unique opportunity to make this about more than just basketball," Gov. Eric Holcomb said. He went on to say this will be an opportunity to show what Indiana has to offer on a national stage.

"There is a proud tradition of holding these games in Indianapolis," said Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett. "I have confidence we can host these games in a safe and healthy environment."

The NCAA is partnering with a local health provider to administer COVID-19 testing within the controlled environment for players, coaching staffs, administrators and officials. 

"To get this all done, we have to have a singular focus on safety," said Emmert. "This is good for Indiana, this is good for Indianapolis, this is good for college basketball."

Emmert said he has a very high confidence level that this tournament will be able to be held safely and effectively. He said the NCAA wants to make sure they deliver on the promise of March Madness.

The NCAA also is working with the city and state to promote "Mask Madness," an initiative to promote health and safety by practicing social distancing and wearing a mask. As part of this program, the NCAA will donate thousands of masks throughout the state leading up to the tournament.

"We could not be more proud as a state," Holcomb said. "I'm beyond excited."

"This is more than just basketball. This is an opportunity for our city to step back into the limelight," Hogsett said.