As expected, the ENTIRE 2021 NCAA Tournament is going to be played in the Indianapolis area due to COVID-19 restrictions. What we did not know until today was the venues.
Well now we know them, and one is quite familiar:
Breaking, sources tell CBS Sports the NCAA Tournament will use these venues to host the 2021 men’s tournament:— Matt Norlander (@MattNorlander) January 4, 2021
Bankers Life Fieldhouse
Indiana Farmers Coliseum
Lucas Oil (two courts)
Only one game at Lucas Oil at a time.
Here are the hosts, according to sources: Horizon League, IUPUI, Purdue, Butler, Ball State, Indiana. As previously reported by CBS Sports, the Indiana Convention Center will house practices for the NCAA Tournament. One source previously said there’d be as many as 20 courts there— Matt Norlander (@MattNorlander) January 4, 2021
I'm told Ball State's home gym will be the backup/emergency venue if needed.— Matt Norlander (@MattNorlander) January 4, 2021
The four in Indianapolis are not a surprise, but both Assembly Hall and Mackey Arena as the expansion outside sites are a pleasant surprise now that they are official. I honestly thought they would aim for the University of Indianapolis gym or Marian University.
Now, do not get too excited about home court advantage. The NCAA has had a policy since the 80s that a host institution won’t play at the venue it is hosting, and they route those teams to other venues. An example is when Butler was the official host of the first and second rounds here in Indy. Under those rules, they cannot play in that regional. The same with 2019. Louisville was the host for the South Regional Final, so the Cardinals could not be in the South Region that year.
So, Ironically, Purdue could be the “home” team at Assembly Hall if it makes the tournament and Indiana could be the “home” team at Mackey if it makes it.
It seems likely that Mackey will host only the first and second rounds, as having the Sweet 16 self-contained in Indy will be nice.
Let’s hope that the NCAA is smart and puts the Final Four in Hinkle if there will be few or limited fans. This is a one-time chance to do so and it needs to be in such a historic venue instead of a giant warehouse with few fans at Lucas Oil.