SOURCE – The NCAA released the schedule for the 2021 men’s tournament on Tuesday, and it includes few shifts from tradition — including beginning the first round on a Friday. The tournament, which will be held entirely in Indiana, will begin with the First Four on Thursday, March 18 in West Lafayette (home of Purdue) and Bloomington (home of Indiana University). The first two rounds will be played at four venues in Indianapolis — Lucas Oil Stadium, Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Hinkle Fieldhouse and Indiana Farmers Coliseum — from Friday, March 19 through Monday, March 22.
The Sweet 16 will be played on Saturday, March 27 and Sunday, March 28, and the Elite Eight will be played in prime time on Monday, March 29 and Tuesday, March 30. The Final Four is still scheduled for April 3 and 5 at Lucas Oil Stadium.
I mean you can’t do this. The Thursday/Friday 1st round slate is a staple of March. You can’t just break tradition like that without a warning. Fuck Monday basketball. Monday basketball doesn’t hit like it does when you hear the CBS theme play at noon on Thursday. Leave it up to the NCAA to ruin a good thing. We’re trying to get back to normal as slowly as possible, and the NCAA moving the first two rounds back from Friday to Monday’s ain’t making it easier. Everyone knows the week of the tourney you load Monday to Wednesday up with all of your meetings so Thursday and Friday you can focus on 48 hours of basketball. How are people going to lie to their bosses they need to block off Monday afternoon? I don’t want to hear Bill Raftery shout “ONIONS” on a Monday as I’m staring at Excel spreadsheets. How am I going to go nuts off a Valpo buzzer beater if I’m on a Zoom call with my VP?
That Thursday is sacred. There’s no reason the NCAA had to switch it up like this. I feel like my equilibrium is off.
And if you say the First Four is the official start of the tournament I hope your bracket champion loses in the first round. Everyone knows the First Four doesn’t mean shit unless Temple is playing in it again.