March Madness Tournament Bracket: From The First Four to the National Championship
The 2021 March Madness will be one like no other. Many teams have struggled to deal with the pandemic. Yet, many teams have found success in this new format. This season will conclude with clear favorites in the tournament with some teams looking for the Cinderella story. From the First Four to the National Championship, the 2021 NCAA March Madness Tournament is sure to impress.
March Madness 2021
After canceling in 2020, the 2021 NCAA March Madness tournament will go on with a few changes. First, all of the games will be held in the Hoosier State, Indiana. A majority of the games will be held in Indianapolis with the Final Four played at Lucas Oil Stadium, home of the Indianapolis Colts. Secondly, stadiums will be kept at 25% capacity. The NCAA has set forth a series of health and safety protocols. The final change is how the seeding is completed. In 2021, geography of teams does not matter as all games will be played in Indiana.
The NCAA March Madness tournament has become one of America’s favorite sporting event due to its bracket competition. Each year, more than 10 million brackets are completed for the tournament. From fun work groups to money wagers with friends, it seems everyone wants to get in on the brackets. You can fill out the bracket linked below to get in on the fun.
2021 NCAA Tournament Bracket
March Madness Bracket
All brackets lock on Thursday, March 20th before the first game of the first round. Good luck but understand that no one in the history of the tournament has ever picked all 67 games correctly.
The seeding committee is made up of 10 members who are all school and conference administrators. These members are nominated by their conference and serve five-year terms. The idea is that committee makes up a cross-section of the Division I membership.
In 2021, geography is no longer a part of the selection committee’s seeding process. Previously, geographical location played a big role in deciding where teams would play. Given the entire tournament is in Indiana, geography of teams means nothing. The importance is then on the understanding of the S-curve. In 2021, this is solely how teams will be placed in the final bracket. The 2021 NCAA bracket will be announced beginning at 6 p.m. ET on Selection Sunday, March 14. The selection show will be aired on CBS. Below is a breakdown of seeding and the S-curve.
– It is called an S-curve because it snakes through the seeding. For example, the no. 1 overall seed will play the weakest no. 2 seed (no. 8 overall seed) and so on throughout the bracket.
– Every Team falls on the S-curve from the no. 1 overall seed (the first no. 1 seed) to the 68th overall seed (the last no. 16 seed).
– In previous years, the S-curve was used but geography would sometimes take precedent. For example, a west coast team would likely not be playing an east coast team even if the S-curve would suggest they should. In 2021, any team from any coast could play each other and the S-curve takes precedent.
– The selection committee will still follow bracketing principles like not matching teams from the same conference against each other in early rounds.
March Madness Rounds Explained
The NCAA March Madness tournament consists of six rounds. It is important to understand how each round works and its bracket implications. Here is a walk-through for starters.
The First Four: The selection committee chooses eight teams to play their way into the 64-team field. These games open up the tournament and provide a glimpse of what is to come. The four games will be played on Thursday, March 18th. The games may seem out of place but teams who play in these games have a chance to make a run in the tournament like VCU did in 2011 when they made it from the First Four to the Final Four.
First Round: The First Round, also referred to as the Round of 64, is where the Madness begins. The tournament holds 32 games in just two days and each team will need to perform in a single-elimination scenario. The First Round will occur on Friday, March 19th and Saturday, March 20th.
Second Round: The Second Round, or Round of 32, begins Sunday, March 21st and ends Monday, March 22nd. Again, the field of teams will be cut in half going from 32 teams to only 16.
Sweet 16: The third round of the tournament, which has been dubbed the Sweet 16, makes up the 16 teams left in the field. By now, each team will have at least two games and feel momentum in on their sides. The third round will take place Saturday, March 27th and Sunday, March 28th.
Elite Eight: The fourth round of the tournament has become known as the Elite Eight. Teams that make it to the Elite Eight are just that, elite. The fourth round will occur on Monday, March 29th and Tuesday, March 30th.
Final Four: The Final Four consists of the final four teams in the tournament. The Final Four games will be played on April 3rd. Both Final Four games and the National Championship game will be played at Lucas Oil Stadium.
National Championship Game: The final game of the tournament decides the Men’s Division I College Basketball champion. Teams making it to this point will have at least five wins and a chance to solidify their names in college basketball history. The winner of this game is crowned the national champion.