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NCAA announces format dates, locations for 2021 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament

The usual Thursday-Sunday opening weekend gets pushed back a day.

View of the basketball rack with the March Madness logo during practice for the south regional of the 2019 NCAA Tournament at KFC Yum Center. Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports

The NCAA today announced the format for the 2021 NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship, and it’s a bit different than usual thanks to COVID-19.

In most years the tournament takes place in venues across the country, but we already knew this year was being consolidated to the NCAA’s home state of Indiana. Usually the opening Thursday and Friday are the least productive days in offices across America, but bosses will get some relief this year: This year opening weekend will be just Friday-Monday.

It gets even stranger for the following weekend, which pivots from Thursday-Sunday to Saturday-Tuesday. The Final Four is still on its normal schedule of two national semifinals on Saturday night, and the national championship on Monday night.

Dates and locations for the 2021 NCAA Tournament

Purdue: Mackey Arena (West Lafayette)
Indiana: Assembly Hall (Bloomington)
Pacers: Bankers Life Fieldhouse
Butler: Hinkle Fieldhouse
IUPUI: Indiana Farmers Coliseum
Lucas Oil Stadium (home of the NFL Colts, two courts available if necessary)
All locations in Indianapolis unless noted

March 18: First Four (Purdue, Indiana)

March 19-22: First and second rounds (Purdue, Indiana, Pacers, Butler, IUPUI, Colts)

March 27-28: Sweet 16 (Pacers, Butler)

March 29-30: Elite Eight (Lucas Oil Stadium)

April 3-5: Final Four and National Championship (Lucas Oil Stadium)