March Madness is back, but how is it different due to Covid?

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Photo used with permission from Google Commons

The biggest bracket in the world is at the JW Marriot in Indianapolis.

With Covid-19, March Madness is a little different this year. In year’s past there were games in different regions. The south region plays in a southern state like Florida and the north plays in a northern state like New York. This year all the games will be played in one place: Indianapolis. Like the NBA, it will use a bubble format.

Every team will stay in the same hotel and will have different shifts where they can use the weight room, have team meetings and watch film for upcoming games. 

Students are excited about the tournament. “I like how they are still having March Madness. Even if it’s not exactly the same, it’s still going to be an awesome tournament with many great upsets,” freshman Isiah Kuiper said.

With all the games being in the same area, they need to have different courts so games can be going on at the same time. In normal years a big reason why March Madness got that nickname “madness” is because of all the games happening at the same time, especially in the first two rounds. To make this a reality this year, games will be played on two courts inside Lucas Oil Stadium, as well as Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Hinkle Fieldhouse, Indiana Farmers Coliseum, Mackey Arena in West Lafayette and Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall in Bloomington.

A big issue this year is safety and COVID-19 protocols. Teams from all over the country have seen COVID pauses this year and this tournament will take this very seriously. Every player, coach, and staff member must test negative seven days in a row before going to the big dance. Virginia had to forfeit from the ACC tournament due to player testing positive, as well as Duke, who missed out on the tournament this year. Duke did not get a chance to secure a spot in March Madness with a conference championship. Their run came to an end when a player tested positive for Covid. 

The fans fueled the fire for those small schools’ Cinderella teams that beat big schools, like Stephen Curry on Davidson beating Gonzaga seven years ago. The full crowds will not be there this year, but small crowds will still be there to cheer on the teams. “I don’t watch the games that much but I love seeing the crowds from small schools go crazy when they pull off the huge upsets,” junior Jamie Morris said.

I can’t wait to watch the games for my bracket to bust after the first day of games.”

— Ethan Kuan

Early this year Covid-19 was hitting teams all over and there was thought that no tournament would happen. Players started being more careful and cases went down and there was more hope. Now that it’s here, students are thrilled. “I can’t wait to watch the games for my bracket to bust after the first day of games,” sophomore Ethan Kuan said.