Albuquerque Journal

Schedule for March Madness has changes

Men’s tourney has lots of Monday, Tuesday games

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INDIANAPOL­IS — That much-anticipate­d opening Thursday of March Madness will belong to the play-in teams, part of a scrambled and modestly condensed schedule for the 2021 tournament released Tuesday.

The coronaviru­s pandemic forced the NCAA to move the entire 67-game tournament to Indiana, which means the schedule doesn’t have to be built with travel concerns in mind.

The so-called “First Four” — four games pitting the last four at-large teams in the field and another two featuring the lowest-rated conference champions — will take place on Thursday, March 18.

That day typically would have marked the start of play in the main bracket. Instead, the first two full days of action are now scheduled for Friday and Saturday, March 19-20, with the round of 32 taking place Sunday and Monday, March 21-22.

The Sweet 16 will run Saturday and Sunday, March 27-28, with none of the games scheduled to overlap, as they often do when they take place on the second Thursday and Friday nights of the tournament. Those winners will face off in the Elite Eight on the following Monday and Tuesday evenings.

The Final Four is still scheduled for Saturday, April 3, and Monday, April 5.

Purdue and the University of Indiana will host early games, along with Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Hinkle Fieldhouse, Indiana Farmers Coliseum and Lucas Oil Stadium.

All action moves to Lucas Oil Stadium starting with the Elite Eight.

The 68-team field will be announced on March 14. The NCAA Tournament was canceled last season with the COVID-19 pandemic shutting down sports days before Selection Sunday.

Mountain West

UTAH STATE 83, COLORADO STATE 64: In Logan, Utah, junior 7-footer Neemias Queta had 18 points and 12 rebounds, and the Aggies (12-3, 9-0 MWC) took over sole possession of first place in the conference with a win over the third-place Rams (103, 7-2).

Junior guard Brock Miller led Utah State with 20 points, including six 3-pointers.

Notes

MEN’S TOP 25: In Gainesvill­e., Fla., Noah Locke scored 14 points, Tyree Appleby added 13 and short-handed Florida stunned No. 6 Tennessee 75-49 on Tuesday night. The Gators got unexpected help from several bench guys to offset being without three of their best four players. … In Villanova, Pa., Cole Swider hit the winning free throw with 1.9 seconds left, and Collin Gillespie scored 22 points to help No. 3 Villanova (9-1, 4-0 Big East) beat Seton Hall 76-74, the Wildcats’ first game in 27 days. … In Columbus, Ohio, Jaden Ivey scored 15 points and made a tiebreakin­g 3-pointer with 5 seconds remaining, and surging Purdue, which has won four straight, rallied to beat No. 15 Ohio State, 67-65.

AURIEMMA PASSES SUMMITT: No. 3 UConn’s women, playing for the first time in 10 days, routed Butler 103-35 on Tuesday night.

The win was coach Geno Auriemma’s 1,099th at UConn, moving him past late Tennessee coach Pat Summitt, into second place on the all-time list just two days before the Huskies visit Knoxville to take on the Lady Vols.

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