March Madness schedule 2021: Full bracket, dates, times, TV channels for every NCAA Tournament game (2024)

For the first time in nearly two calendar years, we will have March Madness.

The 2021 NCAA Tournament, the single-greatest postseason event in organized sports, will take place starting on Thursday, March 18; this, after it was the first major sporting event to be canceled by the COVID-19 pandemic last season. And, even as the pandemic hovers over the sports world, it seems the NCAA and host venues are better prepared to actually host the tournament this year.

Better late than never, right?

While there will be several changes to the 2021 NCAA Tournament, one constant is the fact only a handful of elite teams are expected to win the whole thing. That starts this season with Gonzaga, the only remaining undefeated team. The Bulldogs are the clear No. 1 seed. And while there are a host of "good" teams in this year's field, they are still a distance behind the Bulldogs.

Just another opportunity for a Cinderella to make history in what will be a historic tournament simply for being played.

Sporting News has you covered on how to watch March Madness 2021, including start and end dates, TV schedule, streaming options, venues, updated betting odds and more.

MORE: Watch select March Madness games live with fuboTV (7-day free trial)

March Madness bracket 2021

NCAA Tournament schedule 2021

  • Start date: Thursday, March 18 (First Four)
  • End date : Monday, April 5 (national championship game)

The 2021 NCAA Tournament — comprised of the First Four, Rounds 1 and 2, Sweet 16, Elite Eight, Final Four and national championship game — will begin Thursday, March 18 and conclude on Monday, April 5.

Here is the full schedule for March Madness 2021:

Round Dates
First FourMarch 18
Round 1March 19-20
Round 2March 21-22
Sweet 16March 27-28
Elite EightMarch 29-30
Final FourApril 3
National championshipApril 5

When is the First Four?

The 2021 First Four games will all take place on March 18, as opposed to its previous two-day format. Eight teams — the four lowest-seeded automatic and at-large bids — will take part in the play-in games, which grants access to the tournament proper.

  • Date: Thursday, March 18
  • Time: 5: 10 p.m. ET start time
  • TV channel: TBS, TruTV
  • Live stream: NCAA March Madness Live

When is the Final Four?

The 2021 NCAA Tournament ends with the Final Four and national championship on April 3 and 5, respectively. All games will take place in Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. Unlike previous tournaments — which featured regional finals in four separate cities before teams convened for the Final Four host city — the final three rounds will all take place in the same stadium.

First Four

Thursday, March 18

Game 1: No. 16 Texas Southern 60, No. 16 Mount St Mary's 52
Game 2: No. 11 Drake 53, No. 11 Wichita State 52
Game 3: No. 16 Norfolk State 54, No. 16 Appalachian State 53
Game 4: No. 11 UCLA 86, No. 11 Michigan State 80

Round 1

Friday, March 19

No. 7 Florida 75, No. 10 Virginia Tech 70 (OT)
No. 3 Arkansas 85, No. 14 Colgate 68
No. 1 Illinois 78, No. 16 Drexel 49
No. 6 Texas Tech 65, No. 11 Utah State 53
No. 15 Oral Roberts 75, No. 2 Ohio State 72 (OT)
No. 1 Baylor 79, No. 16 Hartford 55
No. 8 Loyola Chicago 71, No. 9 Georgia Tech 60
No. 12 Oregon State 70, No. 5 Tennessee 56
No. 4 Oklahoma State 69, No. 13 Liberty 60
No. 9 Wisconsin 85, No. 8 North Carolina 62
No. 2 Houston 87, No. 15 Cleveland State 56
No. 13 North Texas 78, No. 4 Purdue 69 (OT)
No. 10 Rutgers 60, No. 7 Clemson 56
No. 11 Syracuse 78, No. 6 San Diego State 62
No. 3 West Virginia 84, No. 14 Morehead State 67
No. 5 Villanova 73, No. 12 Winthrop 63

Saturday, March 20

Game 21: No. 5 Colorado 96, No. 12 Georgetown 73
Game 22: No. 4 Florida State 64, No. 13 UNC Greensboro 54
Game 23: No. 3 Kansas 93, No. 14 Eastern Washington 84
Game 24: No. 8 LSU 76, No. 9 St. Bonaventure 61
Game 25: No. 1 Michigan 82, No. 16 Texas Southern 66
Game 26: No. 5 Creighton 63, No. 12 UC Santa Barbara 62
Game 27: No. 2 Alabama 68, No. 15 Iona 55
Game 28: No. 6 USC 72, No. 11 Drake 56
Game 29: No. 2 Iowa 86, No. 15 Grand Canyon 74
Game 30: No. 10 Maryland 63, No. 7 UConn 54
Game 31: No. 13 Ohio 62, No. 4 Virginia 58
Game 32: No. 8 Oklahoma 72, No. 9 Missouri 68
Game 33: No. 1 Gonzaga 98, No. 16 Norfolk State 55
Game 34: No. 11 UCLA 73, No. 6 BYU 62
Game 35: No. 14 Abilene Christian 53, No. 3 Texas 52
Game 36: No. 7 Oregon, No. 10 VCU (no contest)

Round 2

Sunday, March 21

Game 37: No. 8 Loyola Chicago 71, No. 1 Illinois 58
Game 38: No. 1 Baylor 76, No. 9 Wisconsin 63
Game 39: No. 11 Syracuse 75, No. 3 West Virginia 72
Game 40: No. 3 Arkansas 68, No. 6 Texas Tech 66
Game 41: No. 2 Houston 63, No. 10 Rutgers 60
Game 42: No. 15 Oral Roberts 81, No. 7 Florida 78
Game 43: No. 5 Villanova 84, No. 13 North Texas 61
Game 44: No. 12 Oregon State 80, No. 4 Oklahoma State 70

Monday, March 22

No. 7 Oregon 95, No. 2 Iowa 80
No. 1 Gonzaga 87, No. 8 Oklahoma 71
No. 11 UCLA 67, No. 14 Abilene Christian 47
No. 5 Creighton 72, No. 13 Ohio 58
No. 1 Michigan 86, No. 8 LSU 78
No. 4 Florida State 71, No. 5 Colorado 53
No. 2 Alabama 96, No. 10 Maryland 77
No. 6 USC 85, No. 3 Kansas 51

Sweet 16

Saturday, March 27

Game 53: No. 12 Oregon State 65, No. 8 Loyola Chicago 58
Game 54: No. 1 Baylor 62, No. 5 Villanova 51
Game 55: No. 3 Arkansas 72, No. 15 Oral Roberts 70
Game 56: No. 2 Houston 62, No. 11 Syracuse 46

Sunday, March 28

Game 57: No. 1 Gonzaga 83, No. 5 Creighton 65
Game 58: No. 1 Michigan 76, No. 4 Florida State 58
Game 59: No. 11 UCLA 88, No. 2 Alabama 78 (OT)
Game 60: No. 6 USC 82, No. 7 Oregon 68

Elite Eight

Monday, March 29

Game 61: No. 2 Houston 67, No. 12 Oregon State 61
Game 62: No. 1 Baylor 81, No. 3 Arkansas 72

Tuesday, March 30

Game 63: No. 1 Gonzaga 85, No. 6 USC 66
Game 64: No. 11 UCLA 51, No. 1 Michigan 49

Final Four

Saturday, April 3

Game 65: No. 1 Baylor 78, No. 2 Houston 59
Game 66: No. 1 Gonzaga 93, No. 11 UCLA 90 (OT)

NCAA Tournament national championship

Monday, April 5

Game 67: No. 1 Baylor 86, No. 1 Gonzaga 70

How to watch March Madness 2021 live

CBS and Turner Sports stations (TBS, TNT and truTV) will split broadcast duties of the 2021 NCAA Tournament, with Turner Sports airing 43 games (20 for TBS, 12 for TNT and 11 for truTV) to CBS' 24.

CBS has broadcast rights for both the Final Four and national title game, despite the fact Turner Sports couldn't broadcast those rounds in 2020 due to the tournament's cancellation (a 2016 contract allows the stations to split the Final Four and national championship rights on an every-other-year rotation).

Round TV channel
First FourTBS, truTV
Round 1CBS, TBS, TNT or truTV
Round 2CBS, TBS, TNT or truTV
Sweet 16CBS, TBS
Elite EightCBS, TBS
Final FourCBS
National championshipCBS

CBS and Turner Sports have yet to release their announcer pairings for the 2021 NCAA Tournament.

2021 NCAA Tournament streaming options

Every game in the 2021 NCAA Tournament can be streamed via NCAA March Madness Live; other streaming options include CBS' streaming service, which will rebrand as Paramount+ on March 4, and fuboTV, which offers a 7-day free trial.

Round Live stream
First FourNCAA March Madness Live
Rounds 1-2NCAA March Madness Live , Paramount+, fuboTV (7-day free trial)
Sweet 16NCAA March Madness Live , Paramount+, fuboTV (7-day free trial)
Elite EightNCAA March Madness Live , Paramount+, fuboTV (7-day free trial)
Final FourNCAA March Madness Live , Paramount+, fuboTV (7-day free trial)
National championshipNCAA March Madness Live , Paramount+, fuboTV (7-day free trial)

Where is March Madness 2021?

The 2021 NCAA Tournament will be held entirely in the state of Indiana, with the majority of games taking place in the greater Indianapolis area. That's part of an effort to minimize travel by teams and keep a consistent protocol in place for COVID-19 testing.

That starts with the First Four, which will take place in Mackey Arena and Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall; those venues will feature alongside Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Hinkle Fieldhouse, Indiana Farmers Coliseum and Lucas Oil Stadium (all in Indianapolis) in the first and second rounds. Bankers Life Fieldhouse and Hinkle Fieldhouse will serve as Sweet 16 venues.

Lucas Oil Stadium concludes the tournament in the Elite Eight, Final Four and national championship rounds. Each venue will feature two courts to play games.

Below is a full rundown on the sites and locations of the NCAA Tournament:

*Indicates venue will host only first-round games

Round Location Site
First Four West Lafayette, Ind.Mackey Arena
Bloomington, Ind.Assembly Hall
Rounds 1-2 West Lafayette, Ind.Mackey Arena*
Bloomington, Ind.Assembly Hall*
IndianapolisBankers Life Fieldhouse
Hinkle Fieldhouse
Indiana Farmers Coliseum
Lucas Oil Stadium
Sweet 16 IndianapolisBankers Life Fieldhouse
Hinkle Fieldhouse
Elite Eight IndianapolisLucas Oil Stadium
Final Four IndianapolisLucas Oil Stadium

Best upsets | Pivotal moments | Greatest buzzer-beaters

Odds to win March Madness 2021

While 64 teams have an equal chance to win the NCAA Tournament at its start, only a handful of teams can make a legitimate run to the national championship. Those teams are led by Gonzaga at +200 odds; Baylor and Michigan are in second at +600.

Below are the teams most like to win the 2021 NCAA Tournament (as of Sunday, March 14):

  • Gonzaga (+200)
  • Baylor (+600)
  • Michigan (+600)
  • Illinois (+700)
  • Iowa (+1600)
  • Houston (+1800)
  • Alabama (+2100)
  • Ohio State (+2400)
  • Florida State (+3000)
  • Oklahoma State (+3000)
  • Virginia (+3000)
  • UConn (+3200)
  • Arkansas (+4200)
  • Creighton (+4200)
  • Kansas (+4200)
  • Purdue (+4200)
  • Texas (+4200)
  • Texas Tech (+4200)
  • West Virginia (+4200)
  • Wisconsin (+4200)

Thrill of victory | Agony of defeat

Future March Madness locations, host sites

Assuming the COVID-19 pandemic comes under control by the start of March Madness 2022, it will take place across several cities over the course of the NCAA Tournament. Each tournament over the next several years will have new venues for the Final Four and national championship games.

Here are the future sites and locations for future Final Fours:

Year City Final Four host site
2022New OrleansMercedes-Benz Superdome
2023HoustonNRG Stadium
2024PhoenixState Farm Stadium
2025San AntonioAlamodome
2026IndianapolisLucas Oil Stadium

NCAA Tournament 2021 tickets

The NCAA on Feb. 19 announced it would allow 25 percent capacity for NCAA Tournament games, including players, coaches, essential staff, visiting family members and a reduced number of fans. The NCAA later specified that exact capacity percentages would vary by site and venue, depending on capacity and COVID-19 mandates. Moreover, any fans in attendance will be required to wear face coverings and physically distance at the event.

“We continue to use the knowledge we have gained over the season on how to conduct games in a safe environment,” NCAA president Mark Emmert said in. a statement. “I want to thank our host universities and conferences, the Indiana State Health Department, and the leaders in the Marion, Monroe and Tippecanoe county health departments as they help make that possible.”

First Four tickets through the NCAA are no longer available, though the NCAA does have options to buy tickets starting with the first and second rounds. Below are the dates to buy tickets through the organization for each of the ensuing rounds, from the Sweet 16 through the Elite Eight:

Ticket portals open at 10 a.m. ET

  • Sweet 16: Tuesday, March 16
  • Elite Eight: Tuesday, March 16

More March Madness news by Sporting News

Need a fix on March Madness content before the 2021 NCAA Tournament? Sporting News has you covered:

  • Changes to March Madness schedule could create greatest day (or days) in NCAA Tournament history
  • Inside the Madness: 80 years of Final Four memories
  • Upset City: Reliving the Wildest Opening Venue in Tournament History
  • An Oral History of Steph Curry's Breakout Party
  • '40 Minutes of Hell' to Hog Heaven: Memories from Arkansas' 1994 NCAA Tournament run
  • Mario Chalmers' shot vs. Memphis still resonates
  • March Madness 2018: Ranking the Top 16 #fa*ganJinx upsets

NCAA Tournament winners

UCLA leads all men's college basketball programs with 11 national championships, followed by blue bloods Kentucky, North Carolina and Duke.

Virginia is the last team to win the NCAA Tournament, securing its first title in program history in 2019. No team claims the 2020 national championship.

School National titles Most recent Runner-up finishes
North Carolina620175
Michigan State220001
North Carolina State219830
Oklahoma State219460
San Francisco219560
City College of New York119500
Holy Cross119470
La Salle119540
Loyola (Ill.)119630
Ohio State119604
March Madness schedule 2021: Full bracket, dates, times, TV channels for every NCAA Tournament game (2024)


What channels are the NCAA tournament games on? ›

Final take

The 2023 NCAA Basketball Tournament will air on CBS Sports, Turner Sports, and ESPN channels. Specifically, men's games are on CBS, TBS, TNT, and truTV, while women's games are on ABC, ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNews, and ESPNU.

What TV channel is the men's Final Four on? ›

The Final Four will air on CBS. CBS is available on most cable packages and streaming services.

Is the men's Final Four on CBS? ›

How to watch Final Four NCAA March Madness live 2023. March Madness gets down to the Final Four on Saturday, Apr. 1. Final Four games will air on CBS and Paramount+.

How can I watch March Madness bracket? ›

March Madness broadcasts were spread out across CBS, TBS, TNT, and TruTV, but the championship game will be shown exclusively on CBS. That means you can stream March Madness online by getting a live TV streaming service like DirecTV Stream, or you can watch on Paramount+.

Is the NCAA tournament on CBS? ›

During the first and second rounds, a featured game in each time "window" is broadcast terrestrially on CBS (15 games), while all other games are shown on TBS (12 games), TNT (12 games) or truTV (nine games). Sweet 16 (regional semifinal) and Elite 8 (regional finals) games are split among CBS and TBS.

Is the men's Final Four on ESPN? ›

March Madness

While domestic rights to the NCAA men's tournament are held by CBS and Turner Sports, ESPN International distributes coverage of the tournament internationally, and produces its own feed of the Final Four and championship game using the ESPN College Basketball staff.

Are any brackets still perfect? ›

There are no perfect ESPN brackets remaining.

Who called the Final Four before Jim Nantz? ›

Nantz started calling early-round games for CBS in 1986 and was the Final Four studio host for five years before taking over play-by-play duties from Brent Musburger in 1991.

What is the first four in NCAA tournament? ›

In its current format, the First Four consists of eight teams — the four lowest-seeded automatic qualifiers, and the four lowest-seeded at-large teams. Each subset plays against itself (i.e., at-large teams face at-large teams, and automatic qualifiers face automatic qualifiers).

How can I watch March Madness for free on TV? ›

CBS: Use an antenna or get Paramount+ for free

Snag a free Paramount+ subscription to stream CBS's March Madness games. If you're fortunate enough to have solid over-the-air reception in your area, you can use an indoor or outdoor TV antenna to watch CBS games for free (don't miss our reviews of the best TV antennas).

How can I watch March Madness for free without a TV provider? ›

There are loads of online options to watch 2023 NCAA Tournament games, some completely free and others with free trial periods. If you're not near a TV, you can log into, and (or the TBS, TNT or truTV apps).

How can I watch March Madness without a TV provider? ›

  • Buy a digital antenna to view games on CBS.
  • Stream through CBS All Access.
  • Use Hulu with Live TV.
  • Watch through PlayStation Vue's Access package.
  • Use DirecTV Now's Live a Little package.
  • Try the NCAA March Madness Live app with login credentials.

Is the NCAA tournament on ESPN? ›

Post-season tournaments

While domestic rights to the NCAA men's tournament are held by CBS and Turner Sports, ESPN International distributes coverage of the tournament internationally, and produces its own feed of the Final Four and championship game using the ESPN College Basketball staff.

Is the NCAA tournament on Hulu? ›

From the first shot to the final dunk, Hulu has your entire 2023 NCAA® March Madness® live TV experience covered. Select one of the options below to learn more about watching NCAA® March Madness® on Hulu: When is NCAA® March Madness®?

How can I watch elite 8 games? ›

Suspended Michigan State coach calls harassment allegations false. The Elite Eight contests will air across CBS and TBS. You can also stream the action on,,, the March Madness Live app and the Paramount+ app.

What channel is the women's Final Four on tonight? ›

The NCAA Women's Final Four Special Presented by Capital One tips off at 6 p.m. on Friday on ESPN, breaking down the storylines and previewing the semifinal matchups. The NCAA Women's Championship Special Presented by Capital One will precede the championship for a full hour on ABC at 2:30 p.m.

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