2021 NCAA Tournament schedule, dates: March Madness bracket, games, TV channels, tipoff times, live stream

Author: CBS Sports
Published: Updated:
NCAA March Madness. (Credit: CBS News)
NCAA March Madness. (Credit: CBS News)

The NCAA Tournament finally made its return Thursday night with four exciting games in the First Four, but Friday is what brings back what college basketball fans have been truly craving — an all-day helping of March Madness. The day will feature 16 first-round NCAA Tournament games, starting with No. 7 seed Florida taking on No. 10 seed Virginia Tech at 12:15 p.m. ET and running all the way through a 9:57 p.m. nightcap between No. 5 seed Villanova and No. 12 seed Villanova.

In between, there will be an untold number of dramatic finishes that produce new heroes and Cinderella stories as the Big Dance unfolds for the first time since 2019. You can get a bird’s eye view of all the action with our printable bracket, and we’ve got a full listing of the pairings, times and channels below.

There are some notable changes for this year’s NCAA Tournament amid the COVID-19 pandemic. For one thing, all the games are being played in Indiana to reduced the amount of travel required for the participants. But where casual fans will notice the most difference is in the dates of each round. Traditionally, the first round has started on Thursday with the second round being completed by Sunday.

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic and the protocols in place to ensure a safe environment for all, the first round will run on Friday and Saturday instead of Thursday and Friday. That means the Sweet 16 won’t be set until Monday night. Regardless, the basics are the same: a lot of meaningful basketball in a short period of time as we get closer to finally crowning a champion.

Below you can find tip times and TV channels for every first-round game slated to take place on Friday and Saturday.

Be sure to check in often as this story will update every single time the NCAA Tournament schedule is adjusted. Games will be aired on CBS, TNT, TBS and truTV — and as always, you can also watch every game in the tourney via March Madness Live.

2021 NCAA Tournament schedule, dates

First Four

Thursday, March 18 — Mackey Arena, Assembly Hall

5:10 p.m. (16) Texas Southern 60, (16) Mount St. Mary’s 52 Recap
6:27 p.m. (11) Drake 53, (11) Wichita St. 52 Recap
8:40 p.m. (16) Norfolk State 54, (16) Appalachian State 53 Recap
9:57 p.m. (11) UCLA 86, (11) Michigan State 80 (OT) Recap

First round

Friday, March 19, 2021 — Mackey Arena, Assembly Hall, Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Hinkle Fieldhouse, Indiana Farmers Coliseum, Lucas Oil Stadium

12:15 p.m. (10) Virginia Tech vs. (7) Florida CBS (watch live)
12:45 p.m. (14) Colgate vs. (3) Arkansas truTV (watch live)
1:15 p.m. (16) Drexel vs. (1) Illinois TBS (watch live)
1:45 p.m. (11) Utah State vs. (6) Texas Tech TNT (watch live)
3 p.m. (15) Oral Roberts vs. (2) Ohio State CBS (watch live)
3:30 p.m. (16) Hartford vs. (1) Baylor truTV (watch live)
4 p.m. (9) Georgia Tech vs. (8) Loyola Chicago TBS (watch live)
4:30 p.m. (12) Oregon State vs. (5) Tennessee TNT (watch live)
6:25 p.m. (13) Liberty vs. (4) Oklahoma State TBS (watch live)
7:10 p.m. (9) Wisconsin vs. (8) North Carolina CBS (watch live)
7:15 p.m. (15) Cleveland State vs. (2) Houston truTV (watch live)
7:25 p.m. (13) North Texas vs. (4) Purdue TNT (watch live)
9:20 p.m. (10) Rutgers vs. (7) Clemson TBS (watch live)
9:40 p.m. (11) Syracuse vs. (6) San Diego State CBS (watch live)
9:50 p.m. (14) Morehead State vs. (3) West Virginia truTV (watch live)
9:57 p.m. (12) Winthrop vs. (5) Villanova TNT (watch live)

Saturday, March 20 — Mackey Arena, Assembly Hall, Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Hinkle Fieldhouse, Indiana Farmers Coliseum, Lucas Oil Stadium

12:15 p.m. (12) Georgetown vs. (5) Colorado CBS
12:45 p.m. (13) UNC Greensboro vs. (4) Florida State truTV
1:15 p.m. (14) Eastern Washington vs. (3) Kansas TBS
1:45 p.m. (9) St. Bonaventure vs. (8) LSU TNT
3 p.m. (16) Texas Southern vs. (1) Michigan CBS
3:30 p.m. (12) UC Santa Barbara vs. (5) Creighton truTV
4 p.m. (15) Iona vs. (2) Alabama TBS
4:30 p.m. (11) Drake vs. (6) USC TNT
6:25 p.m. (15) Grand Canyon vs. (2) Iowa TBS
7:10 p.m. (10) Maryland vs. (7) UConn CBS
7:15 p.m. (13) Ohio vs. (4) Virginia truTV
7:25 p.m. (9) Missouri vs. (8) Oklahoma TNT
9:20 p.m. (16) Norfolk St./Appalachian St. vs. (1) Gonzaga TBS
9:40 p.m. (11) Michigan St./UCLA vs. (6) BYU CBS
9:50 p.m. (14) Abilene Christian vs. (3) Texas truTV
9:57 p.m. (10) VCU vs. (7) Oregon TNT

Second round

Sunday, March 21 — Noon start (CBS, TBS, TNT, truTV)
Monday, March 22 — Noon start (CBS, TBS, TNT, truTV)
Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Hinkle Fieldhouse, Indiana Farmers Coliseum, Lucas Oil Stadium

Sweet 16

Saturday, March 27 — 2 p.m. start (CBS, TBS)
Sunday, March 28 — 1 p.m. start (CBS, TBS)
Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Hinkle Fieldhouse

Elite Eight

Monday, March 29 — 7 p.m. start (CBS)
Tuesday, March 30 — 6 p.m. start (TBS)
Lucas Oil Stadium

Final Four

Saturday, April 3 — 5 p.m. start (CBS)
Lucas Oil Stadium

National Championship

Monday, April 5 — 9 p.m. (CBS)
Lucas OIl Stadium

Get every pick, every play, every upset and fill out your bracket with our help! Visit SportsLine now to see which teams will make and break your bracket, and see who cuts down the nets, all from the model that nailed 15 of the 26 double-digit upsets the last four tournaments!

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