When Does the NCAA March Madness Basketball 2021 Tournament Start?

March has begun, so let the madness begin.

It's been almost a year since college basketball abruptly halted its season for the worldwide coronavirus pandemic. The NCAA has devised a plan to play the entire 2021 men's tournament in one, concentrated area over a three-week period.

March Madness, as the tournament has been dubbed for several decades, will play itself out in Indianapolis, Indiana, beginning March 18 with the First Four. The tournament will end three weeks later at Lucas Oil Stadium with the Final Four.

This year's March Madness bracket will be seeded differently than in the past since all games will be held in Indiana, and geography won't play a role in seedings.

March Madness
The Virginia Cavaliers celebrate with the trophy after their 85-77 win over the Texas Tech Red Raiders during the 2019 NCAA men's Final Four National Championship game at U.S. Bank Stadium on April 08, 2019 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

"The NCAA bracket itself will be handled a little bit differently because the entire tournament is in Indiana. The top four seeds will be handled the same and so will the First Four," the NCAA's website states. "The changes will come in how the rest of the bracket is completed. Teams will be placed in the bracket based on rankings without the usual considerations for geography. This is called using the "S-curve" to fill the bracket. There will be 37 at-large selections (one more than normal) and 31 automatic qualifiers (one fewer than normal)."

Here's the rundown of the NCAA men's schedule:

March 14
Selection Sunday — 6 p.m. ET

March 18
First Four — 4 p.m. ET

March 19-20
First round — 12 p.m. start each day

March 21-22
Second round — 12 p.m. start each day

March 27-28
Sweet 16 — 2 p.m. start on Saturday, 1 p.m. start on Sunday

March 29-30
Elite Eight — 7 p.m. start on Monday (March 29) and 6 p.m. start on Tuesday (March 30)

April 3
Final Four — 5 p.m. start

April 5
NCAA championship game — 9 p.m. start

The conference tournaments have already begun for some conferences, and they will begin later this week or next week for the major conferences.

The entirety of the Men's NCAA Division I Basketball tournament will be played in Indianapolis or its immediate, surrounding areas.

First Four: Mackey Arena, Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall

First Round: Mackey Arena, Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall, Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Hinkle Fieldhouse, Indiana Farmers Coliseum, Lucas Oil Stadium

Second Round: Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Hinkle Fieldhouse, Indiana Farmers Coliseum, Lucas Oil Stadium

Sweet 16: Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Hinkle Fieldhouse

Elite 8: Lucas Oil Stadium

Final 4: Lucas Oil Stadium

The last tournament was won by Virginia in 2019 when the Cavaliers defeated the Texas Tech Red Raiders, 85-77, in overtime. In 2018, Virginia became the first No. 1 team to ever lose to a No. 16 seed.