March Madness is back with a vengeance. After the pandemic caused last year’s NCAA tournament to be canceled, the NCAA men’s basketball tournament is back in 2021 with all the wildly unpredictable excitement basketball fans sorely missed — even if it ruined their brackets. Upsets dominated the first two rounds of the tourney, with the action resuming on Saturday with the first day of the Sweet 16.
Here’s what you need to know about the 2021 men’s tournament.
Mark Vital, No. 11, of the Baylor Bears and his teammates react to their 76-63 win over the Wisconsin Badgers in the second round game of the 2021 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament.
Andy Lyons/Getty Images
Who is playing in the Sweet 16 games?
Here’s the upcoming schedule for Saturday’s Sweet 16 games. Check out the scores for in-progress and completed games at NCAA.com.
(8) Loyola Chicago vs. (12) Oregon State, 2:40 p.m. ET (11:40 a.m. PT) on CBS(1) Baylor vs. (5) Villanova, 5:15 p.m. ET (2:15 p.m. PT) on CBS(3) Arkansas vs. (15) Oral Roberts, 7:25 p.m. ET (4:25 p.m. PT) on TBS(2) Houston vs. (11) Syracuse, 9:55 p.m. ET (6:55 p.m. PT) on TBS When is the Final Four and the rest of the tournament?
As with past years, you’ll need access to CBS and TBS to catch all the action from this point onward. Here’s the remaining list of dates to keep in mind, as well as which networks will have coverage.
Sweet 16: Saturday, March 27 and Sunday, March 28 on CBS (afternoon games) and TBS (primetime games)Elite Eight: Monday, March 29 and Tuesday, March 30 on CBS (Monday) and TBS (Tuesday)Final Four: Saturday, April 3 on CBSNational Championship: Monday, April 5 on CBS Who are the top seeds, where can I find the bracket?
Gonzaga, Baylor, Michigan and Illinois were the top seeds in the tournament, each No. 1 seed in their respective regions. The full bracket can be found at a number of locations including on the NCAA’s website.
Can I watch without a cable subscription?
You can, though because of the various networks it could get a little complicated.
Live TV streaming services such as YouTube TV, Hulu Plus Live TV and AT&T TV offer both channels you’ll need to catch the action, but they start at $65 per month ($70 per month for AT&T). Cheaper streaming services like Sling TV’s $35 per month Orange and Blue packages have TBS but lack CBS. FuboTV has CBS but lacks TBS.
You can also get CBS with an antenna or with Paramount Plus, the new name for CBS All Access, a streaming service that runs $6 per month.
Games will be available to stream on the NCAA’s March Madness Live website and app, with the CBS-broadcasted games available for free without needing to first authenticate with a cable provider. Watching the games that are broadcast on TBS, however, will require you to first log in with your cable provider’s credentials.
YouTube TV costs $65 a month and includes CBS and TBS. Plug in your ZIP code on its welcome page to see what live, local networks are available where you live.
Hulu With Live TV costs $65 a month and includes CBS and TBS. Click the “View all channels in your area” link on its welcome page to see which local channels are offered in your ZIP code.
Both of Sling TV’s packages offer TBS, but not CBS, for $35 per month.
FuboTV costs $60 a month and includes CBS, but not TBS. Click here to see which local channels you get.
Outside the US? Consider using a VPN: CNET editors choose the best VPN
How does the pandemic affect the 2021 tournament?
The NCAA took a number of precautions to protect players, coaches and fans and to reduce the potential for COVID-19 to disrupt play. Usually the tournament is spread all across the country in various venues, but this year, to reduce travel, all 67 men’s games are taking place in Indiana with the bulk of the action happening in Indianapolis. Teams are also required to quarantine upon arrival, and in-person attendance by fans is limited to 25% capacity to allow physical distancing.
COVID-19 also has impacted some games, with Oregon advancing past VCU in the first round due to the Rams’ having multiple positive tests.
In which venues will the games take place?
Per the NCAA, this year’s games will be played two courts inside Lucas Oil Stadium (home of the NFL’s Indianapolis Colts) plus Bankers Life Fieldhouse (home of the NBA’s Indiana Pacers), Hinkle Fieldhouse (Butler’s stadium), Indiana Farmers Coliseum (home of the IUPUI Jaguars), Mackey Arena in West Lafayette (Purdue’s arena) and Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall in Bloomington (home of the Indiana Hoosiers).
The NCAA says that only one game will take place at Lucas Oil Stadium at a time, while teams will practice at the Indiana Convention Center. Dedicated hotel floors will house each team.
On March 1, the NCAA tweeted out images of this year’s floor layout for Lucas Oil Stadium as well as some of the other venues.
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