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Assembly Hall to be used as NCAA Tournament venue

The good kind of postseason college basketball is returning to Bloomington

NCAA Basketball: Tennessee Tech at Indiana Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

The whispers have been confirmed. The 2021 NCAA Tournament — that’s right, the whole dang thing — is coming to Indiana.

All 67 games will be played on Hoosier hardwood this spring, the NCAA announced Monday, cementing long-rumored plans to stage the event in a central location. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like Mark Emmert is taking us up on our suggestions for tournament sites, but the czar of college sports still managed to pick some good places to play — not that there are really any bad ones in these parts.

Among the chosen facilities is Assembly Hall, which will be hosting NCAA Tournament games for the fourth postseason in its nearly 50 years of operation. Bloomington’s big ol’ basketball barn also served as an NCAA Tournament location in 1977, 1979 and 1981.

Lucas Oil Stadium will have two courts arranged on its sprawling event floor. Games will also take place at Hinkle Fieldhouse, Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Indiana Farmers Coliseum and Mackey Arena. According to CBS Sports’ Matt Norlander, Assembly Hall, Hinkle Fieldhouse and Mackey Arena will have temporary, March Madness-branded courts installed, so it won’t be quite the same look.

Elsewhere, the Indiana Convention Center will house as many as 20 practice courts, per Norlander. Can you imagine? Related: does anyone here have the power to sneak a couple humble bloggers into the Indiana Convention Center? Just wondering.

This is all really cool news, and fun for those of us who know and love these buildings and all they represent, historically and culturally. Even better, it’ll be a boon for the hospitality industry in Central Indiana, which could surely use a jolt after the past nine-plus months.

So, hey, Archie? Win some games this month? No pressure.