The NCAA Tournament is one of the most anticipated sporting events on the calendar every single year. Millions of people fill out their brackets and tune in to see absurd upsets and fast-paced action. After the 2020 Tournament was canceled due to COVID-19, things are a little different in 2021 but the tournament is still scheduled to take place with numerous health precautions established.

Still things do look a little bit different this year and that ultimately leads to plenty of questions leading up to the Big Dance. If you’re unsure about how the games are going down this year, don’t worry, we’re here to help. It’s time to answer all the biggest questions people may have about March Madness in 2021.

The 2021 NCAA Tournament begins on Thursday, March 18 and runs through Monday, April 5.

The different rounds break out like this:

  • First Four: Thursday, March 18
  • First Round: Friday, March 19 and Saturday, March 20
  • Second Round: Sunday, March 21 and Monday, March 22
  • Sweet Sixteen: Saturday, March 27 and Sunday, March 28
  • Elite Eight: Monday, March 29 and Tuesday, March 30
  • Final Four: Saturday, April 3
  • NCAA Championship Game: Monday, April 5

Selection Sunday is March 14th at 6 p.m. EST on CBS.

The tournament is broadcast on an array of CBS and Turner owned channels with the main rotation consisting of TBS, CBS, TNT and truTV. All games will also be available online, via March Madness Live. From the Sweet Sixteen onward all games will either be on CBS or TBS and the Final Four will all be broadcast on CBS.

The entire tournament this year will take place in Indiana with limited fan attendance around 25% capacity. So, yes, fans will be able to attend but that capacity number also includes staff, coaches and players families. According to the NCAA, “all attendees must wear face coverings and physically distance during the event.”

NCAA Tournament tickets are currently available on a limited basis through the NCAA, StubHub and Ticketmaster.

The entirety of March Madness is taking place in Indiana this year, split between multiple arenas around the state. Teams will play games in Mackey Arena, Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall, Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Hinkle Fieldhouse, Indiana Farmers Coliseum and finally Lucas Oil Stadium. The First Four is in Mackey Arena and Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall, then the first two rounds will utilize all six locations. The Sweet Sixteen will take place in Bankers Life Fieldhouse and Hinkle Fieldhouse and everything from the Elite Eight onward will be played in Lucas Oil Stadium.

The official march madness bracket won’t be released until March 14, 2021, but this is what it’s shaping up to look like at the moment.

March Madness Bracket 2021

The women’s tournament has a completely different schedule and location than the Men’s tournament. The women’s selection show is at 7 p.m. ET on Monday, March 15, on ESPN.

The schedule for the games is as follows:

  • First Round: Sunday, March 21 and Monday, March 22
  • Second Round: Tuesday, March 23 and Wednesday, March 24
  • Sweet Sixteen: Saturday, March 27 and Sunday, March 28
  • Elite Eight: Monday, March 29 and Tuesday, March 30
  • Final Four: Friday, April 2
  • NCAA Championship Game: Sunday, April 4

Just like how the men’s tournament is confined to the state of Indiana, the women’s tourney is only being played in Texas. The first round will be split between San Antonio, Austin and San Marcos with the games being played at the Alamodome, Bill Greehey Arena, Frank Erwin Center, University Events Center and UTSA Convocation Center. Everything from the second round onwards will be in San Antonio and all games past the Sweet Sixteen will take place in the Alamodome.

The entire women’s tournament will be broadcast across the ESPN family of networks, ABC, ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNU, as well as online via the ESPN app.

Unfortunately there’s no sure way to guarantee you come out on the top with the best bracket but there are plenty of resources out there to help you make informed decisions. One great way to pick for all you statisticians out there is to compare teams in the handy KenPom College Basketball Ratings.

But the important thing here is to have fun with it! A better way to go about often is to choose a theme, like only picking teams who wear blue or going with all the animal mascots, it’s called March Madness for a reason you never know what will happen.

There are two fairly easy answers to this question. The first is to win your bracket pool, if there was a buy-in and a lot of people then you should be in for a pretty solid payday. The second is to forgo the bracket altogether and bet on individual games directly. This gets a bit more tricky as you have to make sure you’re in an eligible state, but if you are you can head on over to FanDuel to check out their lines and prop bets.

Things will change a bit after the seeds are officially announced, but right now the favorites are lining up to be Gonzaga, Baylor, Michigan and Illinois. A few other teams that have a shot are Houston, Ohio State, Alabama, Florida State, Iowa and West Virginia.

The biggest highlight of the tournament every year is always the big upsets and seeing a higher seed make a run into the tournament. While it’s often hard to predict, this year some teams that have a shot are Loyola Chicago, Michigan State, Oklahoma, BYU and St. Bonaventure.

Once you’re all settled in on the couch, you’ve made your picks and you’re ready for the madness to commence don’t forget to pick up some gear from Fanatics to make sure you’re supporting your favorite school in style! They’ve got tons of gear for every single team in the tournament and many many more!