March Madness 2021 — Let the NCAA basketball madness begin

Let the NCAA basketball madness begin! The NCAA March Madness 2021 basketball tournament is nearing its tip-off.

ncaa bball

After canceling last season’s tournament due to the COVID-19 pandemic, fans are rejoicing for the competition’s return. So, when does it start and who is the favorite to win the NCAA basketball tournament during March Madness 2021?

When is the NCAA basketball tournament?

The NCAA basketball tournament tips off on Thursday, March 18 but first, Selection Sunday will take place on Sunday, March 14. The bubble will burst for some of the teams hoping to make the tournament while championship hopefuls will stamp their ticket to the dance.

Where will the tournament be played?

The NCAA basketball tournament 2021 will take place entirely in Indiana. The location of the tournament means that teams do not have to travel around the country and should reduce any chances of COVID-19 transmission.

Most of the tournament’s games will be played in Indianapolis. Two courts inside Lucas Oil Stadium will host games. Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Hinkle Fieldhouse, Indiana Farmers Coliseum, Mackey Arena in West Lafayette, and Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall in Bloomington will also be the site of tournament games.

The arenas will be allowed to be filled up to 25% capacity. The 25% capacity includes players, coaches, essential staff, and family members of players and coaches. Therefore, the opportunity for fans to attend may be limited.

Key dates for the NCAA basketball 2021 tournament

Here is a look at the NCAA basketball 2021 ournament schedule and locations:

  • Selection Sunday – Sunday, March 14

  • First Four – Thursday, March 18: Mackey Arena, Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall

  • First Round – Friday, March 19 and Saturday, March 20: Mackey Arena, Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall, Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Hinkle Fieldhouse, Indiana Farmers Coliseum, Lucas Oil Stadium

  • Second Round – Sunday, March 21 and Monday, March 22: Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Hinkle Fieldhouse, Indiana Farmers Coliseum, Lucas Oil Stadium

  • Sweet 16 – Saturday, March 27 and Sunday, March 28: Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Hinkle Fieldhouse

  • Elite Eight – Monday, March 29 and Tuesday, March 30: Lucas Oil Stadium

  • Final Four – Saturday, April 3: Lucas Oil Stadium

  • NCAA Championship Game – Monday, April 5: Lucas Oil Stadium

Who will win the tournament?

Here is a look at the top teams and odds heading into Selection Sunday courtesy of

Team American Fractional
Gonzaga +250 5/2
Baylor +330 33/10
Michigan +420 21/5
Illinois +1000 10/1
Houston +1800 18/1
Ohio State +1800 18/1
Alabama +2000 20/1
Florida State +2000 20/1
Iowa +2000 20/1
West Virginia +2000 20/1
Villanova +2500 25/1
Creighton +2600 26/1
Texas +2800 28/1
Virginia +2800 28/1
Kansas +3000 30/1
Texas Tech +3000 30/1
Oklahoma +3500 35/1
Wisconsin +4000 40/1
Tennessee +4500 45/1
Arkansas +5000 50/1
Colorado +5500 55/1
Connecticut +5500 55/1
Loyola Chicago +5500 55/1
Oregon +5500 55/1
USC +5500 55/1
Purdue +6000 60/1
San Diego State +6000 60/1
Missouri +6500 65/1
LSU +7500 75/1
Louisville +7500 75/1
Michigan State +7500 75/1
North Carolina +7500 75/1
UCLA +7500 75/1

Who are the most recent NCAA tournament champions?

With no tournament held last year and the pandemic making us forget about recent tournaments, here is a look at the last five tournament finals and winners.

2019 — Virginia 85-77 Texas Tech (OT)

2018 — Villanova 79-62 Michigan

2017 — North Carolina 71-65 Gonzaga

2016 — Villanova 77-74 North Carolina

2015 — Duke 68-63 Wisconsin

Why you shouldn’t bet on Gonzaga to win the tournament

Gonzaga is the AP’s No. 1 going into Selection Sunday. However, there is one major reason you shouldn’t bet the farm or even any money on the Bulldogs to win the tournament. Why?

The No. 1 ranked team at the end of the NCAA season has won the tournament just once since 2001 and only four times since the tournament was expanded to 64 teams in 1985. The 2012 Arizona Wildcats are the only team since 2001 to win the NCAA tournament after finishing the campaign No 1. Betting on the AP’s No. 1 team after Selection Sunday is often a fool’s bet.

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