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REPORTED: NCAA Tournament to be Held in One Location

If the NCAA has a bubble for the tournament, will conferences follow?

Michigan State v Duke Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

The NCAA has announced plans to hold the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament in a single location.

The Final Four was planned to be held in Indianapolis at Lucas Oil Stadium, so it was believed that a bubble might be centered around that town. Not only does this appear to be confirmed in the press release below, but the dates and amount of games (i.e., no expansion or limits of the field) also appear confirmed for now.

NCAA staff are in preliminary talks with the State of Indiana and the city of Indianapolis to potentially host the 68-team tournament around the metropolitan area during the coordinated dates in March and April. Indianapolis was already slated to host the Men’s Final Four from April 3-5, 2021.

If Georgetown can sneak in and get to play a regional round at Butler’s legendary fieldhouse, maybe the Hoyas can shoot as well as they have at Hinkle in recent years.

Press Release:

INDIANAPOLIS — The NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Committee announced today the relocation of 13 predetermined preliminary round sites for the 2021 Division I Men’s Basketball Championship.

In recent weeks, the Division I Men’s Basketball Committee has engaged in a thorough contingency planning process to determine the most effective way to conduct a safe and healthy March Madness for all participants for the 2021 championship. Through these discussions, it became apparent to the committee that conducting the championship at 13 preliminary round sites spread throughout the country would be very difficult to execute in the current pandemic environment. The committee has decided the championship should be held in a single geographic area to enhance the safety and well-being of the event.

As a result, NCAA staff are in preliminary talks with the State of Indiana and the city of Indianapolis to potentially host the 68-team tournament around the metropolitan area during the coordinated dates in March and April. Indianapolis was already slated to host the Men’s Final Four from April 3-5, 2021.

“My committee colleagues and I did not come lightly to the difficult decision to relocate the preliminary rounds of the 2021 tournament, as we understand the disappointment 13 communities will feel to miss out on being part of March Madness next year,” said Mitch Barnhart, chair of the Division I Men’s Basketball Committee and University of Kentucky athletics director. “With the University of Kentucky slated to host first- and second-round games in March, this is something that directly impacts our school and community, so we certainly share in their regret. The committee and staff deeply appreciate the efforts of all the host institutions and conferences, and we look forward to bringing the tournament back to the impacted sites in future years.”

The committee emphasized the importance of conducting the championship in a manageable geographic area that limits travel and provides a safe and controlled environment with competition and practice venues, medical resources and lodging for teams and officials all within proximity of one another.

“We have learned so much from monitoring other successful sporting events in the last several months, and it became clear it’s not feasible to manage this complex championship in so many different states with the challenges presented by the pandemic,” said Dan Gavitt, NCAA Senior Vice President of Basketball. “However, we are developing a solid plan to present a safe, responsible and fantastic March Madness tournament unlike any other we’ve experienced.”

“The committee and staff have thoughtfully monitored the pandemic to develop potential contingency plans,” said Mark Emmert, NCAA President. “The Board of Governors and my top priorities are to protect the health and well-being of college athletes while also maintaining their opportunity to compete at the highest level. These principles have guided the decision-making process as we continue to assess how to have a fair and safe championship experience.”

CBS Sports and Turner Sports will continue to distribute all 67 games of the tournament across TBS, CBS, TNT and truTV and their digital platforms.

In an interview with Andy Katz, below, Dan Gavitt relayed that the purpose of the announcement was to ensure that every team knows there will be an NCAA tournament this year, provide fairness to host cities who will no longer host regional rounds, and allow more flexibility, with this transparency, to openly work with the details of the plan.

Also of note, THE HOYA reports that Georgetown’s calendar has been a bit altered, with classes starting on January 25th and spring break in late March. Easter is April 4, 2021.