Hosting the 2021 NCAA Men’s basketball tournament in Indianapolis is the best decision that can be made in college basketball and will give basketball fans a light to look toward amidst an eerie 2020 sports world. This comes as a controversial decision, as there has never been an NCAA basketball tournament held in one singular location.
The NCAA tournament has been around since 1939 and has been played at different locations across the U.S for the better part of 80 years. Many basketball fans around the country and the world are not ready to see the tournament held in one location, but due to the coronavirus pandemic, this seems like an unavoidable decision. The NCAA aims to announce Indianapolis as its tournament host by January 2021, according to Indianapolis Star sports columnist David Woods.
Just this past summer, Orlando’s ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex was host of the 2020 NBA playoffs. The NBA playoff atmosphere was known as the “bubble” and was a great success in terms of keeping the games going and people healthy. Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogstett indicated the city will use Orlando’s bubble as a blueprint.
The bubble was “America’s best example of a coronavirus success story,” said Los Angeles Times writer Kelcie Pegher.
As of Dec. 1, there were approximately 185,000 new cases of COVID-19 in the U.S., The New York Times reported. This is compared to an average of 42,000 cases in September 2020. In Indiana, there were 5,400 new cases as of Dec. 1 down from 8,400 new cases on Nov. 14. As winter comes, it seems cases in Indiana are going back down.
Indianapolis makes the most sense because the city is known as the “crossroads of America,” which makes it easy for college teams to come from all over the country.
As home to at least six NCAA regulation basketball arenas within the city limits, the NCAA regulations are easy to follow: None of these arenas in Indianapolis need lengthened or shortened, meaning they are ready to be played on by any NCAA team that can.
Other historic arenas, such as Assembly Hall in Bloomington and Mackey Arena in West Lafayette, are 50 and 70 miles away from Indianapolis, respectively. That gives teams eight locations to play games. With 68 teams participating in the NCAA tournament, these locations should more than suffice.
Not only is Indianapolis a great geographic and logistical location for the NCAA tournament, it has basketball history that no other city can hope to claim. Indiana coined the term “Hoosier Hysteria,” which originally described the statewide high school basketball tournament but is now used to describe the fervor Indiana’s residents have for the game of basketball. Our passion for basketball in Indiana is unmatched.
Indianapolis brings a proven track record of hosting major sporting events. Over the last few decades, Indianapolis has hosted a Super Bowl, multiple NCAA final fours, Big Ten Basketball Tournaments, and Big Ten football championships. This experience and passion make Indianapolis the clear frontrunner to host the 2021 NCAA tournament.
From logistics, to geography, to health safety, Indianapolis checks all the boxes as a potential host for the 2021 NCAA Tournament. The sooner the NCAA makes its decision, the better for the state of college basketball. The decision will give fans, players, and coaches something to look toward in 2021.