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Photo: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

It's official: The 2021 NCAA men's basketball tournament will be held entirely in Indiana from late March to early April.

Why it matters: In terms of sheer size, the 68-team, 67-game hoops bonanza will be unlike anything we've seen during sports' pandemic era.

Venues: Lucas Oil Stadium (Colts), Bankers Life Fieldhouse (Pacers), Hinkle Fieldhouse (Butler) and Indiana Farmers Coliseum (IUPUI) will host games in Indianapolis, while Mackey Arena (Purdue) and Assembly Hall (Indiana) will host games in nearby West Lafayette and Bloomington.

Housing: Marriott, an NCAA partner, will house teams on separate floors in hotels that are connected via skywalks to the Indiana Convention Center (where teams will practice) and Lucas Oil Stadium.

Protocols: The NCAA will work with health officials in Marion County to determine health and safety protocols, and to administer COVID-19 tests.

Attendance: A limited number of family members will be permitted at games. The NCAA will decide later on whether to allow other spectators.

A tweet previously embedded here has been deleted or was tweeted from an account that has been suspended or deleted.

Between the lines: While leagues like the NBA, NHL and WNBA successfully employed single-site tournaments this summer, college sports is an entirely different beast — and 68 teams is a logistical nightmare of the highest order.

  • The National Collegiate Hockey Conference, an eight-team league with powerhouses like Denver and North Dakota, offers a glimpse of what a bubbled March Madness could look like.
  • Dec. 1–21, the NCHC played in what it called a "pod" in Omaha, Nebraska. 38 games in three weeks.
  • The only places teams went were the arena, the hotel (where they had their own separate lounges) and a designated restaurant. Players were tested every game day.
  • The biggest challenge? Locker room space. "The equipment managers are probably going to be the heroes of this thing," NCHC commissioner Josh Fenton told ESPN.

More bubbles:

  • The women's tournament will also be played in a centralized location, likely San Antonio.
  • Indiana will also host the D-II and D-III men's championships in Evansville and Fort Wayne, respectively.

Go deeper

Kendall Baker, author of Sports
Jan 13, 2021 - Sports

Hockey returns under the shadow of coronavirus

Graphic: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

The NHL's abbreviated season begins tonight, with the coronavirus already casting a shadow of uncertainty over the 2021 campaign.

Driving the news: 27 players from nine teams tested positive for COVID-19 during training camp. 17 were on the Stars, who have had their first three games postponed.

DiDi to delist from NYSE under Chinese govt pressure

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Chinese ride-hail giant DiDi said it will delist from the New York Stock Exchange, following a Chinese government crackdown on foreign listings.

Why it matters: This reflects how geopolitical tensions are bleeding into the capital markets.

Updated 13 mins ago - Health

Omicron cases confirmed in 5 U.S. states

A healthcare worker inserts a Covid-19 rapid test into a machine in Denver, Colorado. Photo: Daniel Brenner/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Hawaii became on Thursday the fifth state to confirm the newly discovered Omicron variant after New York announced five new cases earlier in the day.

The latest: In Hawaii, the variant was found in an unvaccinated O'ahu resident with moderate symptoms who had previously been infected with COVID-19, per a state health department statement. The variant has also been confirmed in California, Colorado and Minnesota.