A January 2021 announcement from the NCAA shared that the Big Dance — March Madness — would be played in Indianapolis. The tournament would be played at a number of notable venues throughout Central Indiana, including Lucas Oil Stadium, Indiana Farmers Coliseum, Butler University’s Hinkle Fieldhouse, Indiana University’s Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall and Purdue University’s Mackey Arena.
This also means that for the first time in NCAA Tournament history, March Madness is taking place in one state.
The NCAA is no stranger to the Circle City, as its national headquarters has been located in downtown Indianapolis for over 20 years. The apt placement of the organization punctuates a state known in part for its enthusiasm for basketball. March Madness is a chance for a national audience to celebrate the state’s storied past and the legacies of basketball that persist throughout the Hoosier State.
While Indiana is home to the NBA’s Indiana Pacers and the WNBA’s Indiana Fever teams, the state also boasts 10 NCAA Division 1 schools. Within this group, West Lafayette’s Purdue University is the only team in the state to earn a bid in this year’s March Madness with a No. 4 seed. Purdue’s Mackey Arena is set to host a number of games, which began with the First Four match-up between Drake University and Wichita State University. Drake’s 53-52 victory against the Shockers makes the 2021 tournament the first time since 2016 that two teams from the Missouri Valley Conference advanced to the first round.
Each of the six 2021 NCAA Tournament venues has a storied history that goes beyond college basketball. The Phoenix has broken down all you need to know about where the tournament will be played across the Hoosier state.
Hinkle Fieldhouse: Indianapolis, Indiana
Hinkle Fieldhouse opened in 1928 and has been the home of the Butler University Bulldogs ever since. Originally named Butler Fieldhouse, the Fieldhouse was renamed in 1968 to honor Butler’s three-sport coach Paul D. Hinkle.
The 2021 tournament marks the first time Hinkle Fieldhouse has hosted an NCAA Men’s Tournament game since 1940. Beyond being the sixth-oldest college basketball arena still being used, Hinkle Fieldhouse became a United States National Historic Landmark in 1987.
Hinkle Fieldhouse hosted six games during the first round March 19-20 — including the No. 8-seeded Loyola men’s basketball team’s matchup against No. 9-seeded Georgia Institute of Technology March 19 — and other games during the second round March 21-22. It will also host more games during the Sweet Sixteen March 27-28.
Lucas Oil Stadium: Indianapolis, Indiana
Lucas Oil Stadium is home to the Indianapolis Colts but has been converted to feature two basketball courts for the NCAA tournament. It opened its doors to the public in 2008 after replacing the RCA Dome.
The stadium is no stranger to March Madness, having hosted the Final Four in both 2010 and 2015, and is slated to host the Final Four this season and again in 2026. Lucas Oil Stadium hosts the Big Ten Football Championship Game annually, along with this season’s Big Ten Men’s Basketball Tournament.
The two courts to be used during March Madness have been named Unity and Equality to bring awareness to social justice issues, according to the NCAA.
The Unity court honors the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) Unity Pledge, which will also be read in videos by SAAC members shown through Lucas Oil Stadium and the tournament locations throughout March Madness.
Meanwhile, the Equality court recognizes the actions NCAA student-athletes have taken to advocate for and address issues of racial and social justice.
Lucas Oil Stadium hosted six games during the first round of the tournament March 19-20, along with more games during the second round March 21-22. It will also host the Elite Eight March 29-30 and the Final Four April 3 and 5.
Bankers Life Fieldhouse: Indianapolis, Indiana
Bankers Life Fieldhouse serves as the home for the NBA’s Pacers and the WNBA’s Fever, both of Indiana’s professional basketball teams. It’s also a frequent host for the Big Ten Men’s and Women’s Basketball Tournaments.
Since opening its doors in 1999, the Fieldhouse has hosted a variety of events, ranging from professional bull riding and wrestling to Metallica and Billy Joel concerts.
Bankers Life Fieldhouse hosted six games during the first round of the tournament March 19-20 along with more games during the second round March 21-22, including Loyola’s matchup against No. 1-seeded University of Illinois March 21. It will also host the Ramblers’ matchup against Oregon State University March 27 as well as other Sweet Sixteen games March 27-28.
Indiana Farmers Coliseum: Indianapolis, Indiana
Originally called the Indiana State Fairgrounds Coliseum, the Indiana Farmers Coliseum was constructed in the 1930s as part of the Works Progress Administration under President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
Several teams call the Coliseum home, including the Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) Jaguars and the Indy Fuel minor league hockey team. The Coliseum is also a popular concert venue and famously hosted the Beatles in 1964.
Indiana Farmers Coliseum hosted six games during the first round of the tournament March 19-20, along with more games during the second round March 21-22.
Mackey Arena: West Lafayette, Indiana
Mackey Arena has been the home of the Purdue University Boilermakers basketball teams since it opened in West Lafayette over 50 years ago. The arena was renamed to honor long-time Purdue athletic director Guy Mackey in 1972.
Known for its domed aluminum roof, Mackey Arena also hosts Boilermakers volleyball games and wrestling matches. This year’s NCAA tournament is the first time the arena has hosted a March Madness game since it hosted the first two rounds of the tournament in 1980, which the Boilermakers played in themselves.
Mackey Arena hosted two of the First Four games of the tournament March 18 and four games in the first round March 19-20.
Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall: Bloomington, Indiana
Indiana University’s Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall opened its doors in 1971 and was renamed in 2016 to honor Cynthia Simon Skjodt, whose donations allowed for an extensive renovation in 2007.
Apart from being home to the Indiana Hoosiers men’s and women’s basketball teams, Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall has also hosted several figures of American history, including Elvis Presley and former President Barack Obama.
Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall hosted two of the First Four games of the tournament March 18 and four games in the first round March 19-20.