The first round of the 2021 NCAA Tournament, known for its day-to-night basketball, upsets and buzzer beaters, will have a different schedule than year’s past.
The 32 first-round games have always taken place on Thursday and Friday since the tournament expanded to 64 teams in 1985, but the games this year will be pushed back to start a day later — on Friday.
The First Four, which began in 2011, has been played on Tuesday and Wednesday since its inception. But with the entire tournament taking place in the Indianapolis area this year due to COVID-19, the tournament schedule has been moved around for logistical reasons, resulting in all First Four games being played on Thursday.
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The first round of the NCAA Tournament will take place on Friday and Saturday, with the second round on Sunday and Monday. The first round will begin with Virginia Tech vs. Florida at 12:15 ET from Hinkle Fieldhouse.
It’ll be a similar setup for the second weekend of the tournament: the Sweet 16 will take place on Saturday, March 27, and Sunday, March 28, and the Elite Eight will be on Monday, March 29, and Tuesday, March 30. The Final Four will take place on its usual date — Saturday, on April 3, with the National Championship on Monday, April 5.