2021 NCAA March Madness Schedule Has Been Set

March Madness for 2020 may have been wrecked by COVID-19 but the NCAA has laid out a schedule to a return of the March Madness tournament in 2021. The 2020 tournament was scrapped as college and professional sports shuttered when the pandemic started.

Hopes of a modified tournament this season quickly faded earlier this spring and summer when it became clear that no college basketball was going to take place.

That allowed the NCAA time to prepare the schedule for next season.


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ACC Plan Rejected

The ACC announced plans to submit a modified tournament format and schedule that would have completely revamped March Madness as we know it. It would have added to the “Madness” as the plan would have included every division one basketball team.

In case you are wondering, as of 2020, there are 350 Division one teams. According to reports, the plan would have trimmed down the teams from 350 to a more manageable number around 60 within a week. Check out which teams are on the rise in college basketball for 2020-21.


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Issues brought up throughout the last few weeks included how many officiating squads would be needed, travel budgets during COVID-19 where funds are growing tight for many colleges, and – simply where to play. One solution was to incorporate conference championship tournaments into the NCAA Tournament as the opening round.

The NCAA has since rejected the ACC plan and now released the official schedule for the 2021 version of March Madness.

2021 NCAA March Madness Tournament Schedule

The schedule will include fourteen host cities starting with Dayton, Ohio for the play-in games and ending in Indianapolis, Indiana for the Final Four and Championship games. The tournament schedule opens with Selection Sunday on March 4th and ends with the Championship game being played on April 5, 2021.

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Selection Sunday: March 14

Number of Teams: 68

First Four Play in Games: March 16 and 17, Dayton.

First Round: March 18 and 19

Second Round: March 20-21

First/Second Round Cities: Boise, Dallas, Detroit, Providence, Lexington, Raleigh, San Jose, Wichita.

Sweet 16: March 25-26

Elite Eight: March 27-28

Sweet 16/Elite Eight Cities: Denver, Minneapolis, Brooklyn, Memphis.

Final Four (semifinals): April 3, Indianapolis.

National Championship: April 5, Indianapolis.

About the Author

Kent Whitaker is an award-winning author, culinary writer and sports writer. Whitaker's books range from BBQ, Grilling, Tailgating and additional culinary titles to WWII history books, books about NASCAR and racing and titles for kids.

Whitaker, known as “the Deck Chef,” has a culinary, history and journalism background. He credits this for his cookbook writing style. “My books are people based. I interview, gather recipes from real people and sources – and combine the recipes with back-stories. My cookbooks are slices of culinary history.”

Whitaker can also be found on TV, Radio, Print, and as a celebrity spokesperson. He has appeared on radio and TV including Food Network. He’s the Emeril Live Barbecue Contest winner and columnist for the National Barbecue News.

Whitaker has covered NASCAR, IndyCar, ARCA Racing, The NFL, SEC Football, Professional Golf and more. His books include:

·      Great American Grilling – Ultimate Backyard Barbecue and Tailgating

·      The Gulf Coast Seafood Cookbook

·      Smoke in the Mountains - The Art of Appalachian Barbecue

·      Checkered Flag Cooking - Tailgating Stock Car Racing

·      The Hometown Cookbook Series; The Tennessee Hometown Cookbook, as well as Georgia, Texas, Mississippi, Louisiana, South Carolina, West Virginia, Alabama, and Florida.

·      The USS Alabama - The History of the Mighty A

·      Talladega Superspeedway

·      Bullets and Bread - Feeding the Greats and Grunts of WWII

·      Big Mo's Tennis Ball Hunt

·       Why Are the Mountains Smokey?

Kent has worked with several brands as spokesperson. Companies include Check Mark, ALPO, TimberTech, Vermont Castings, Pabst Blue Ribbon, E.H. Campbell Trading, Big Show Foods, and others. Whitaker, and his wife Allyson, hosted a NASCAR and racing themed show on ESPN Radio for several years. That show has morphed into a weekly short format tailgate show heard on over 50 affiliates nationwide.

Kent is also a member of the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary and severed on the National Staff as an AUXCHEF/AUX Food Service Specialist and National Branch Chief.

Kent and his wife Allyson live in Tennessee and have one ARMY Strong son, Macee. You can visit him online at www.thedeckchef.com and Twitter/Instagram @thekentwhitaker.