INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) — After last year’s tournament was cancelled, the 2021 NCAA men’s basketball tournament will be played entirely in Indiana.
The tournament will be hosted Indiana University, IUPUI, Butler, Purdue, Ball State and the Horizon league. A majority of the 67 Division I tournament games will be played in Indianapolis.
Don Gavitt, NCAA senior vice-president of Basketball says, the NCAA did look at other venues but they decided these schools were the best fit based on experience and broadcast capabilities. Both Purdue and Indiana will only host first-round games.
“This was important for the health protocols to be very similar but we also knew for 68 teams and 67 games that we would need more than just four venues and five courts for the first round in particular, and that’s what led us to IU and to Purdue,” said Gavitt.
Evansville will host the Division II tournament, while Fort Wayne will host the Division III games.
Governor Eric Holcomb issued a statement that read, in part, “With our deep commitment to public health, strong infrastructure and historic facilities, I have no doubt that this year’s tournaments will be among the best we’ve ever seen.”
Though the landscape of the 2021 tournament has changed, dates from the tournament will remain the same.
Selection Sunday is still scheduled for March 14 with the Final Four set to take place on April 3 and 5. The decision to make Indianapolis home of the 2021 Final Four was made in 2014.
“One of the key factors in ultimately being able to come to Indianapolis for this event is the fact there’s a number of world class facilities in a close location including a lot of university partners,” said NCAA president Mark Emmert. “That was obviously critical because you got to run a large number of games simultaneously.”
Bringing the tournament to one state-wide tournament was important for the NCAA as to cut down on teams traveling and make competition as safe as possible.
The NCAA tournament produces arena and stadium filled crowds every year with people who love March Madness. While the NCAA has put the wheels in motion to have the 2021 tournament, safety continues to be their number one priority.
“We have committed and gotten approval for family members to be able to attend,” said Gavitt. “The decision on fan attendance in a larger scale will be made later this month or early February once we can work collaboratively with the Marion County Health Department what the pandemic evolution looks like.”
Emmert says the women’s tournament committee is looking at a similar arrangement in a different state.