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2021 March Madness: How did we get here?
Welcome to the 2021 March Madness Basketball Tournament, which will determine the 2020-21 NCAA Men’s Division I National Champion. Following the cancellation of the 2020 tournament, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2021 event is the 82nd edition of this single elimination tournament. First played in 1939, with an eight-team field, Oregon won the inaugural tournament when the Ducks defeated the Ohio State Buckeyes 46–33. The First Four round was added in 2011 to bring the field to its current 68 teams.
During the first 81 tournaments, 36 different schools claimed at least one title. UCLA owns a record 11 tournament wins, followed by Kentucky (8) and North Carolina (6). After March Madness was canceled last year, Virginia enters the 2021 tournament as a defending champion. The Cavaliers claimed the 2019 title, the first in school history, as they defeated the Texas Tech Red Raiders 85-77 in overtime. That was the eighth time the championship game was decided in overtime, and the first time since 2008.
The 2021 March Madness course was announced on Selection Sunday on March 14. The 31 champions of the Division I conference tournament received automatic entry into the tournament. A 10-member selection committee, which is a mix of NCAA athletic directors and conference commissioners, awarded general offers to 37 teams to complete the field. Notable exclusions include Duke, which did not qualify for the first time since 1995, and Kentucky, which did not qualify for the third time since 1992.
The SI tournament newsletter looks at everything you need to know about the Big Dance – what just happened and what will happen next.
What are the March Madness seeds of 2021?
The current March Madness selection process was first used in 1979. Including the last three tournaments, which were won by Virginia, Villanova and North Carolina, a No. 1 seed has won 24 of 41 championships. A No. 2 seed won the tournament seven times and Villanova was the last team to do so in 2016. A No. 3 seed won five titles and Connecticut was the last team to do so in 2011. Arizona (1997) is the only No. 4 to win the tournament. A No. 5 seed has never won a March Madness title.
NC State (1983) and Kansas (1988) each claimed a March Madness championship as the No. 6 seed. Connecticut, as the No. 7 seed in 2014, plus Villanova as the No. 8 seed in 1985, are the lowest seeds. to win the tournament. 2008 is the only year the four No. 1 seeds advanced to the Final Four round.
With the men’s tournament in the offing, the bookmakers have posted opening odds for the first round of the tournament. Additionally, championship odds are now available and subject to change. Click here to see all March Madness bets options in DraftKings. Here are the seeds for the 2021 NCAA tournament groups.
West region support
Gonzaga (26-0), who won the West Coast conference tournament championship, took first place in the overall rankings and are first in the West Region. The Bulldogs are aiming to become the first undefeated national champion since Indiana finished 32-0 and won the tournament in 1976. Gonzaga, with a moneyline price of +205 on the futures board at DraftKings Sportsbook, is the overall favorite. to win March Madness. Iowa (+1700), Kansas (+4000) and Virginia (+4000), complete the first four seeds of the West Region. I like Gonzaga over Kansas in the West Elite Eight round.
Picks and Predictions from the SI Madness March 2021 Experts
South region support
Despite losing during the semifinal round of the Big 12 conference championship tournament, Baylor (22-2) enters March Madness as the second overall seed and the No. 1 seed in the South Region. The Bears (+500) are the second seed overall to win the tournament in DraftKings. Baylor finished the season as the third-highest scoring team in the nation, as the Bears’ high-octane offense averaged 84.4 points per game. State of ohio (+2000), Arkansas (+5000) and Purdue (+5000), complete the first four seeds in the South Region. In a Big 12 showdown, I will lead Baylor to defeat Texas Tech in the southern region final.
Midwest region support
Following a 91-88 overtime victory against Ohio State in the Big Ten conference championship final, Illinois (23–6) is the No. 3 seed overall and the No. 1 seed in the Midwest Region. The Fighting Illini entered the season with a +6,000 chance of winning the March Madness title, but are now the third seed with a +700 money line. Houston (+3000), who finished second overall with 58.0 points per game allowed in defense, West Virginia (+2000) and State of oklahoma (+2500), round out the top four seeds from the Midwest region. I see Illinois advance to the Final Four with an Elite Eight win over Houston.
East region support
Michigan, who lost 68-67 to Ohio State in the semifinals of the Big Ten tournament, enters March Madness as the No. 4 seed overall and the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Region. The Wolverines enter the tournament without their second leading scorer, as Isaiah Livers (13.1 points per game) is out with a stress fracture to his foot. Alabama (+2000), who won the SEC championship, Texas (+2000), who won the Big 12 championship, and Florida State (+3000), complete the first four seeds in what appears to be a very open Eastern Region. I’ll take Texas to advance to the Final Four with an Elite Eight win over Florida State.
March Madness 2021 tournament schedule
Due to COVID-19 concerns, the entire 2021 March Madness tournament will be played in the state of Indiana. Here’s the full tournament schedule:
- First round of four: March 18 at Mackey Arena and Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall
- First round: March 19-20 at Mackey Arena, Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall, Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Hinkle Fieldhouse, Indiana Farmers Coliseum and Lucas Oil Stadium
- Second round: March 21-22 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Hinkle Fieldhouse, Indiana Farmers Coliseum and Lucas Oil Stadium
- Sweet 16March 27-28 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse and Hinkle Fieldhouse
- Elite eight: From March 29 to 30 at Lucas Oil Stadium
- The last four: April 3 at Lucas Oil Stadium
- Championship game: April 5 at Lucas Oil Stadium
MOST MADNESS OF MARCH SPORTS ILLUSTRATED
Southern Region Breakdown: Can Anyone Topple Baylor?
West Region Breakdown: Will Zags’ Perfect Execution Continue?
East region breakdown: Michigan leads the group of contenders
Midwest Region Breakdown: Emerging Illinois Faces a Stern Test
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.