The early rounds of the 2021 NCAA men's basketball tournament earned the name March Madness with a whirlwind of upsets and surprises. After a flurry of additional shocks in the Sweet Sixteen and Elite Eight, and a near miracle Saturday night in the Final Four, the stage is set for men's basketball's final game Monday night. As some bracket builders predicted, tonight's title game features a battle of two of the top teams in the tourney, when the Baylor Bears take on the Gonzaga Bulldogs.
Baylor enters the contest having demolished Houston in their Final Four game. Gonzaga, meanwhile, had its first real scare of the season Saturday night. After entering the game with an NCAA Division I record streak of 27 straight wins by double digits, the Bulldogs needed a buzzer-beater to outlast UCLA in an overtime classic.
The biggest game of the Big Dance airs tonight on CBS at 9:20 p.m. ET (6:20 p.m. PT). Here's what you need to know about the 2021 men's tournament.
When is the championship game?
Tip-off for tonight's contest is set for 9:20 p.m. ET (6:20 p.m. PT) on CBS.
Who were the top seeds, where can I find the bracket?
Gonzaga, Baylor, Michigan and Illinois were the top teams in the tournament, each a No. 1 seed in their respective regions. After Illinois was knocked out early in the tourney, Michigan lost to UCLA in the Elite Eight, leaving just Gonzaga and Baylor as the only top seeds standing heading into the Final Four.
Those two teams will play for the title Monday night, but those looking to relive the tourney can find the full bracket on the NCAA's website.
Can I watch the tournament live on TV without a cable subscription?
Yes, you can.
YouTube TV, Hulu Plus Live TV, FuboTV and AT&T TV all offer CBS, which is what you'll need to catch the final game. They start at $65 per month ($70 per month for AT&T). Cheaper streaming services like Sling TV's $35 per month Orange and Blue packages do not have CBS.
You can also get CBS with an antenna or with, the new name for CBS All Access, a streaming service that runs $6 per month.
The game will be available to stream on the NCAA's March Madness Live website and app, with the tournament's CBS-broadcasted games -- including tonight's championship decider -- available for free without needing to first authenticate with a cable provider.
You can watch the CBS games on Paramount Plus (formerly known as CBS All Access), if you live in one of these 206 markets where the service offers live TV. Paramount Plus costs $6 a month or $10 a month for no commercials.
Outside the US? Consider using a VPN:
How is the pandemic affecting the 2021 tournament?
The NCAA took a number of precautions to protect players, coaches and fans and to reduce the potential for COVID-19 to disrupt play. Usually, the tournament is spread all across the country in various venues, but this year, to reduce travel, all 67 men's games are taking place in Indiana with the bulk of the action happening in Indianapolis. Teams were also required to quarantine upon arrival, and in-person attendance by fans is limited to 25% capacity to allow physical distancing.
COVID-19 also has impacted some games, with Oregon advancing past VCU in the first round due to the Rams' having multiple positive tests.
In which venue will the National Championship game take place?
Per the NCAA, this year's tournament was played on two courts inside Lucas Oil Stadium (home of the NFL's Indianapolis Colts) plus Bankers Life Fieldhouse (home of the NBA's Indiana Pacers), Hinkle Fieldhouse (Butler's stadium), Indiana Farmers Coliseum (home of the IUPUI Jaguars), Mackey Arena in West Lafayette (Purdue's arena) and Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall in Bloomington (home of the Indiana Hoosiers).
The National Championship will take place at Lucas Oil Stadium.
On March 18, the NCAA tweeted out more images of this year's floor layout for the courts at Lucas Oil Stadium.