The NCAA Men’s and Women’s Division I Basketball Tournaments are set to actually tip off next month after they were both put on hold due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Both tournaments will be played under very different circumstances than the previous tournaments.
The men’s tournament will be held in a bubble environment in Indiana with the Final Four being played at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. The women’s tournament will be held in Texas with the Final Four being played at the Alamodome in San Antonio.
Here’s what else you need to know about the tournaments for the men and women.
The San Antonio region will host the entire NCAA women’s basketball tournament. The move Friday, Feb. 5, 2021, was made to help mitigate the risks of COVID-19 and matches that of the men’s tournament, which the NCAA said last month will be played in the Indianapolis area.(AP Photo/Eric Gay, File)
The men’s basketball tournament will begin with the First Four on March 18. The first games will be played at the Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall in Bloomington and the Mackey Arena in Lafayette. The championship will be held on April 5.
The women’s basketball tournament will begin with the first round on March 21 at the Alamodome, Bill Greehey Arena, Frank Erwin Center, University Events Center and UTSA Convocation Center. All locations are in the San Antonio area.
WILL THERE BE FANS?
Phil Booth #5 of the Villanova Wildcats cuts down the net after the 74-72 win over the Seton Hall Pirates after the Big East Championship Game at Madison Square Garden on March 16, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
The NCAA will allow a limited number of fans for the men’s tournament in each round. Each game will carry a 25% capacity with social distancing. The NCAA said, “Event capacity will include all participants, essential staff and family members of each participating team’s student-athletes and coaches and a reduced number of fans. All attendees must wear face coverings and physically distance during the event. Thorough cleaning, disinfecting and safety measures will be a priority in all venues.”
The NCAA will allow a capacity of up to 17% for the women’s tournament from the Sweet 16 through the Final Four, including “all participants, family members of each participating team’s student-athletes and coaches, essential staff and a reduced number of fans.”
WHO ARE THE DEFENDING CHAMPIONS?
Baylor head coach Kim Mulkey calls in an offensive play in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against West Virginia, Saturday, Jan. 18, 2020, in Waco, Texas. (AP Photo/Rod Aydelotte)
There were no champions in 2020 after the NCAA decided against a tournament at the start of the coronavirus pandemic.
Virginia is the most recent men’s tournament winner. It was the Cavaliers’ first-ever title.
Baylor is the most recent women’s tournament champion. The Lady Bears won their third title in 2019.
HOW TO WATCH
The men’s tournament can be watched on CBS, TBS, TNT, TruTV and the March Madness app. The women’s tournament can be seen on ABC, ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU and ESPN’s streaming app.