This weekend, 68 teams will be selected to compete in March Madness, a year after the 2020 tournament was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic

By Jason Duaine Hahn
March 11, 2021 02:40 PM
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College basketball fans have much to look forward to this weekend.

On Sunday, the NCAA will announce which 68 teams will be invited to play in its men's basketball tournament, set for later this month. The event, known as Selection Sunday, will be broadcast at 6 p.m. EST on CBS.

The teams participating in March Madness will secure their spot in one of two ways — by winning their conference's postseason tournament, giving them an automatic invite, or by being picked by the selection committee, the NCAA explains on its website. The committee, made up of 10 members, will meet on Sunday and will also decide on the tournament's seeding and bracketing.

The eligible teams will be ranked from 1 to 68, with the best team in college basketball given the top seed based on their regular season and conference tournament performance.

The eight lowest-seeded teams (four that were selected by the committee and four that automatically earned a spot) will then compete in a play-in tournament — known as the First Four — to eliminate four, bringing the total number of schools competing in March Madness to 64.

"Those 64 teams are split into four regions of 16 teams each, with each team being ranked 1 through 16," according to the NCAA. "That ranking is the team's seed."

The tournament's schedule is as follows:

Selection Sunday: Sunday, March 14

First Four: Thursday, March 18

First Round: Friday, March 19 and Saturday, March 20

Second Round: Sunday, March 21 and Monday, March 22

Sweet 16: Saturday, March 27 and Sunday, March 28

Elite Eight: Monday, March 29 and Tuesday, March 30

Final Four: Saturday, April 3

National Championship Game: Monday, April 5

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This time last year, March Madness was canceled following the rise of the coronavirus pandemic. The decision came after the college championships leading up to the NCAA Tournament, including the Ivy League, ACC and SEC, were also canceled.

For the 2021 tournament, the NCAA will be hosting every game in Indiana, with the majority of the tournament's matchups taking place in Indianapolis. There will also be "limited" fan attendance at games, the NCAA announced last month. Arenas will be allowed to let in up to 25 percent of their typical capacity and enforce social distancing guidelines.

"This year's tournament will be like no other, and while we know it won't be the same for anyone, we are looking forward to providing a memorable experience for the student-athletes, coaches and fans at a once-in-a-lifetime tournament," Dan Gavitt, NCAA senior vice president of basketball, said in a statement in February. "After the cancellation of the 2020 tournament, we are happy to welcome some fans back to all rounds of the Division I Men's Basketball Tournament."