Purdue to Host NCAA Tournament as Indianapolis Plan Takes Shape

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The Final Four was always going to be in Indianapolis this season, or quasi-season, or pseudo-season, or whatever you want to call it. Made official now, but bantered about back as far as November, the entire 2021 NCAA Tournament will be right staged right in the backyard of Purdue, with some games being played on Keady Court in Mackey Arena.

It will be a very weird event to see all 67 March Madness games transpiring in just one state, for the first time in tourney history, but here we are.

While the backdrop changes, the wagering action will remain the same. You will be able to bet like them here once we know the match-ups come Selection Sunday, March 14. The 2021 NCAA Tournament is going to be a massive sports betting event, like always. Some would say March Madness eclipses even the Super Bowl as the biggest sports gambling phenomenon on the calendar. That won’t change even as the who bracket is staged in the hoosier state.

It also made an excellent topic for the Let’s Get Weird sports podcast, where T-Mill and Paul got together to talk about an entire tournament being played in one area, and what that could mean for some of the venues involved.

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The full map is above, and you may have questions.

Yes, the Horizon League hosting at Lucas Oil is, well IUPUI is now in the conference, even though the “Hoosiermakers” play their home games at the Indiana Farmers Coliseum.

And Butler used to be in that league, before they joined the Big East. As for Ball State at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, well, BSU is located in Muncie (as is the setting for “Garfield,” which makes sense as Garfield creator Jim Davis is a Ball State alum), but they do have a satellite campus in Indy.

They have no connection to the Indiana Pacers’ home court, but they’re probably hosting in this sense- they’ll be doing the logistics and management.

Getting back to Purdue, it is not determined, as of yet, which venues will host which specific round, but there will be two courts at Lucas Oil, and the house of hoops on John Wooden Drive will host march madness.

In other Purdue news, we learned Monday that their Tuesday night game vs Nebraska has been COVIDed out.

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“We are excited to serve as a host site for the 2021 NCAA men’s basketball championship and will work with the NCAA, the Indiana Sports Corporation, Purdue University and local officials to ensure a safe and positive experience for all participants that will compete in Mackey Arena,” said Purdue Director of Athletics Mike Bobinski.

“Mackey Arena is one of college basketball’s great venues and we look forward to showcasing our facility in one of America’s premier sporting events.”

Plans remain to have the Final Four April 3 and 5, with exact preliminary round dates still to be determined. As of course, this is all a very fluid situation, and who knows what’s going to happen in the next two months.

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Just be prepared for a lot of things to change, and on short notice. It will be really cool though, of the NCAA, to just let each court’s markings to remain as is for the tourney. That’s how it was in the old days, and it was WAY BETTER than this boring corporatized homogeneity. Much more interesting when every court has its own distinct colors, logos and lettering.

Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank, partnered with News NowBanks, the author of  “No, I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry,” has regularly appeared in WGNSports IllustratedChicago Tribune and SB NationFollow him on Twitter and Instagram.

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