A new wrinkle is coming to college basketball’s postseason, as the entire 2021 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament is set to be played in the state of Indiana with the Final Four still being played at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. Indiana is widely regarded as the home of high school basketball and is certainly not lacking for arenas to play in. While a “bubble” type of atmosphere that the NBA had in 2020 would not be possible for 68 college teams, the NCAA seems bound and determined to do whatever is necessary for the tournament to be played. This is obviously not surprising given the amount of money lost from the canceled 2020 tournament.
Indianapolis is home to Lucas Oil Stadium, Indiana Farmers Coliseum, Bankers Life Fieldhouse, and the legendary Hinkle Fieldhouse. Outside of Indy, the NCAA could always choose to host tournament games at Assembly Hall in Bloomington, Mackey Arena in West Lafayette, or even the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum in Fort Wayne (home of the best-named G-league team, the Fort Wayne Mad Ants).
It would be remiss of me not to mention the gigantic high school gyms that exist in Indiana as well should the NCAA choose to pursue that route, doubtful as it may be. Currently, 11 of the 12 largest high school gyms in the country reside in the state of Indiana. The three largest of which being at Seymour High School (8,228 seats), East Chicago Central High School (8,054 seats), and New Castle High School (7,829 seats) per the Indy Star. For context, both the RAC at Rutgers and Welsh-Ryan Arena at Northwestern only hold around 8,000 seats as well so these high school gyms are not entirely out of question.
Michigan has certainly had its fair share of successes in the state of Indiana recently. Last year Juwan Howard and company handled Purdue at Mackey 71-63. In 2019, the Beilein-led Wolverines stomped IU 69-46 behind a 20 point effort from Ignas Brazdeikis and a double-double from Charles Matthews. On the recruiting trail, Indiana has also been a hotbed for future Michigan talent. Of note, the Wolverines have successfully recruited Glenn Robinson III, Zak Irvin, Jordan Poole, Zack Novak, Stu Douglass, and Mitch McGary from the Hoosier state.
Should fans be allowed to attend NCAA tournament games, proximity to home is also a major plus for Michigan. Add it all together and this is great news for the Wolverines. Selection Sunday is just two mere months away (March 14th). Let’s hope nothing stands in the way of the most glorious tournament in all of sports.