NCAA announces March Madness preliminary round dates

The NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship will tip off with a quartet of First Four games Thursday, March 18, setting a stage for a March Madness unlike any other in the 82 years of the event.

March Madness

The entire tournament will be in Indiana, with 55 of the 67 games taking place in Indianapolis. Mackey Arena in West Lafayette and Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall in Bloomington will host two First Four games. They will join Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Hinkle Fieldhouse, Indiana Farmers Coliseum, and Lucas Oil Stadium as hosts of first-round games Friday and Saturday, March 19 and 20.

The four venues in Indianapolis will serve as sites for the remainder of the championship, including second-round games Sunday and Monday, March 21 and 22.

The Sweet 16 will be played at Bankers Life Fieldhouse and Hinkle Fieldhouse on Saturday and Sunday, March 27 and 28, with each of the eight games getting its own television window.

The Elite Eight games will take place in prime time Monday and Tuesday, March 29 and 30, and the Final Four is scheduled for Saturday and Monday, April 3 and 5. All those games will be played at Lucas Oil Stadium.

Selection Sunday is March 14, and The Big Dance begins four days later. The First Four matchups will work the same as they would in a normal year, with the overall Nos. 65 and 66 teams playing, and the overall Nos. 67 and 68 teams facing each other. The other First Four games will feature the last four at-large teams on the committee’s final seed list playing one another. The four winning teams advance to first-round games taking place March 20.

Selection Sunday: March 14

First Four: March18 — Mackey Arena (West Lafayette), Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall (Bloomington)

First round: March 19, 20 — Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Hinkle Fieldhouse, Indiana Farmers Coliseum, Lucas Oil Stadium (Indianapolis); Mackey Arena (West Lafayette); Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall (Bloomington)

Second round: March 21, 22 — Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Hinkle Fieldhouse, Indiana Farmers Coliseum, Lucas Oil Stadium (Indianapolis)

Sweet 16: March 27, 28 — Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Hinkle Fieldhouse (Indianapolis)

Elite Eight: March 29, 30 — Lucas Oil Stadium (Indianapolis)

Final Four: April 3, 5 — Lucas Oil Stadium (Indianapolis)

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