For the first time in almost two calendar years we have March Madness.
The 2021 NCAA tournament, the largest postseason event in organized sport, will take place on Thursday, March 18. This after it was the first major sporting event to be canceled by the COVID-19 pandemic last season. And even with the pandemic hovering over the sports world, the NCAA and venues seem better prepared to actually host the tournament this year.
Better late than never, right?
MORE: Watch selected March Madness games live with fuboTV (7-day free trial)
While there will be some changes to the 2021 NCAA tournament, one constant is the fact that only a handful of elite teams will win it all. That kicks off this season with Baylor and Gonzaga, both of whom remain undefeated as of February 19th. They are clear No. 1 seeds and will likely command the top two seeds of the tournament. And while there are plenty of “good” teams out there this year, they’re still way behind the Bulldogs and Bears.
Just one more opportunity for Cinderella to make history in a historic tournament just to be played.
In Sporting News, learn how to watch March Madness 2021, including start and end dates, TV schedule, streaming options, venues, updated betting odds and much more.
When is March Madness 2021?
- Start date: Thursday, March 18 (first four)
- Deadline: Monday 5th April (national championship game)
The 2021 NCAA tournament – consisting of the first four, rounds 1 and 2, Sweet 16, Elite Eight, Final Four, and the national championship game – begins on Thursday, March 18 and ends on Monday, April 5.
Here is the full schedule for March Madness 2021:
|First four||March 18|
|Round 1||March 19-20|
|round 2||March 21-22|
|Sweet 16||March 27-28|
|Elite eight||March 29th to 30th|
|Last four||3rd of April|
|National championship||April 5th|
Where is March Madness 2021?
The 2021 NCAA tournament will be played entirely in the state of Indiana, with most of the games taking place in the greater Indianapolis area. This is part of an effort to minimize team travel and maintain a consistent protocol for COVID-19 testing.
That starts with the first four, which will take place in the Mackey Arena and the Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall. These venues will be featured alongside Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Hinkle Fieldhouse, Indiana Farmers Coliseum, and Lucas Oil Stadium (all in Indianapolis) on the first and second rounds. Bankers Life Fieldhouse and Hinkle Fieldhouse will serve as Sweet 16 venues.
Lucas Oil Stadium finishes the tournament in the Elite Eight, Final Four and National Championship rounds. Each venue has two seats that you can play games on.
Below is a full breakdown of the NCAA tournament locations and locations:
* Indicates that only first-round matches will be played at the venue
|First four||West Lafayette, Ind.||Mackey Arena|
|Rounds 1-2||West Lafayette, Ind.||Mackey Arena *|
|Indianapolis||Bankers Life Fieldhouse|
|Indiana Farmers Coliseum|
|Lucas Oil Stadium|
|Sweet 16||Indianapolis||Bankers Life Fieldhouse|
|Elite eight||Indianapolis||Lucas Oil Stadium|
|Last four||Indianapolis||Lucas Oil Stadium|
MORE MARCH ANGRY:
Best upsets | Key moments | Biggest summer beater
NCAA tournament schedule 2021
When is selection Sunday 2021?
Selection Sunday, the day the field of 68 teams will be unveiled, will take place on Sunday March 14th. The hour-long show begins at 6 p.m. ET.
When are the first four?
The first four games in 2021 will all take place on March 18, as opposed to the previous two-day format. Eight teams – the four lowest and most general bids with the lowest starting value – take part in the warm-ups that grant access to the actual tournament.
When are the last four?
The 2021 NCAA tournament ends with the Final Four and the national championship on April 3rd and 5th, respectively. All games take place at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. Unlike previous tournaments where regional finals were held in four different cities before teams converged for the Final Four host city, the final three rounds all take place in the same stadium.
How to watch March Madness 2021 live
TV schedule for the 2021 NCAA tournament
CBS and Turner Sports channels (TBS, TNT and truTV) will split the broadcasting obligations of the NCAA tournament in 2021, with Turner Sports broadcasting 43 games (20 for TBS, 12 for TNT and 11 for truTV) on CBS ’24.
CBS has broadcast rights for both the Final Four and the national title game, although Turner Sports was unable to broadcast those rounds in 2020 due to the cancellation of the tournament (a 2016 contract allows broadcasters to split the Final Four and national championship rights into one every two years rotation).
|First four||TBS, truTV|
|Round 1||CBS, TBS, TNT or truTV|
|round 2||CBS, TBS, TNT or truTV|
|Sweet 16||CBS, TBS|
|Elite eight||CBS, TBS|
CBS and Turner Sports have not yet released their announcer pairings for the 2021 NCAA tournament.
2021 streaming options for NCAA tournaments
Every game in the 2021 NCAA tournament can be streamed live on NCAA March Madness. Other streaming options include CBS’s streaming service, which will be renamed Paramount + on March 4th, and fuboTV, which offers a free 7-day trial.
|First four||NCAA March Madness Live|
|Rounds 1-2||NCAA March Madness Live, Paramount +, fuboTV (7-day free trial)|
|Sweet 16||NCAA March Madness Live, Paramount +, fuboTV (7-day free trial)|
|Elite eight||NCAA March Madness Live, Paramount +, fuboTV (7-day free trial)|
|Last four||NCAA March Madness Live, Paramount +, fuboTV (7-day free trial)|
|National championship||NCAA March Madness Live, Paramount +, fuboTV (7-day free trial)|
Chances to win March Madness 2021
While 64 teams have an equal chance of winning the NCAA tournament early on, only a handful of teams can make a legitimate run to the national championship. These teams are led by Baylor with odds of +250. Gonzaga is just second with +275, Michigan with +450 chances of winning third.
Below are the teams that would like to win the 2021 NCAA tournament (as of Friday, February 26):
- Baylor (+250)
- Gonzaga (+275)
- Michigan (+450)
- Ohio State (1100)
- Villanova (+1100)
- Illinois (+1500)
- Florida State (+2000)
- Houston (+2000)
- Iowa (+2000)
- USC (+2000)
- Virginia (+2000)
- Alabama (+2500)
- Creighton (+2000)
- Oklahoma (+2000)
- West Virignia (+3000)
MARCH MADNESS MEMORIES:
Thrill of victory | Torment of defeat
Future March Madness locations, host sites
Assuming the COVID-19 pandemic gets under control in early March 2022, it will take place in multiple cities over the course of the NCAA tournament. Each tournament over the next few years will have new venues for the Final Four and the national championship games.
Here are the future locations and locations for future Final Fours:
|year||city||Final Four Host Site|
|2022||New Orleans||Mercedes-Benz Superdome|
|2024||Phoenix||State Farm Stadium|
|2026||Indianapolis||Lucas Oil Stadium|
NCAA Tournament 2021 tickets
The NCAA announced on February 19 that it would allow 25 percent capacity for NCAA tournament games, including players, coaches, key employees, visiting family members and a smaller number of fans. The NCAA later stated that exact capacity percentages would vary based on location and COVID-19 mandates based on location and venue. In addition, all fans present at the event must wear face covering and physical distance.
“We continue to use the knowledge we have gained over the course of the season to play games in a safe environment,” said Mark Emmert, president of the NCAA, in a statement. “I would like to thank our host universities and conferences, the Indiana State Health Department, and the heads of the Marion, Monroe, and Tippecanoe Counties health departments for helping make this possible.”
The NCAA has not yet released ticket information for March Madness 2021.
More March Madness News from Sporting News
Do you need a fix to the content of March Madness ahead of the 2021 NCAA tournament? Sporting News Covered You:
NCAA tournament winner
UCLA leads all men’s college basketball programs with 11 national championships, followed by the Blue Bloods Kentucky, North Carolina and Duke.
Virginia is the last team to win the NCAA tournament, claiming its first title in program history in 2019. No team claims the 2020 national championship.
|school||National title||Latest||Second place|
|State of North Carolina||2||1983||0|
|City College of New York||1||1950||0|