March Madness has been scheduled for March 18 through the championship game on April 5 at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, the NCAA announced Tuesday.
The schedule tailors the event in the age of the coronavirus for maximum television exposure rather than convenience of travel.
As previously announced, the entire tournament will be in Indiana, centered in Indianapolis.
After Selection Sunday on March 14, the First Four games are scheduled for Thursday, March 18 at Mackey Arena in West Lafayette and Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall in Bloomington.
First-round games will be on Friday and Saturday, March 19-20, at Indianapolis venues Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Hinkle Fieldhouse, Indiana Farmers Coliseum and Lucas Oil Stadium, along with Mackey Arena and Assembly Hall.
Second-round games are set for the same four Indianapolis venues Sunday and Monday (March 21-22).
On March 27-28, the Sweet 16 will be played at Bankers Life Fieldhouse and Hinkle Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, with each of the eight games having its own television window.
Traditionally, regional semifinal games were played in prime time, with a pair of games overlapping each other in the early evening and late evening sessions. In 2021, each Sweet 16 game will be played at a separate time.
The Elite Eight games will follow Monday and Tuesday (March 29-30).
"The 2021 March Madness schedule is primarily a function of the health and safety protocols for all participants, respecting conference tournaments, balancing time away from campus for college student-athletes, competitive considerations for a national championship and fan engagement during a relatively traditional tournament timetable," "said Dan Gavitt, the NCAA's senior vice president of basketball.
March 18: First Four
March 19-20: First Round
March 21-22: Second Round
March 27-28: Sweet 16
March 29-30: Elite Eight
April 3: Final Four
April 5: National Championship
--Field Level Media