March Madness returns with lots of alterations this year

AP photo by Michael Conroy / Illinois forward Giorgi Bezhanishvili celebrates during the Big Ten men's basketball tournament title game against Ohio State on Sunday in Indianapolis. The Fighting Illini won 91-88 in overtime in the same city around which the entire 68-team NCAA tournament will be based when it tips off later this week.

The biggest unknown leading into the bracket reveal for this year's NCAA Division I men's basketball tournament had little to do with bubble teams or top seeds. Instead, it was the not so simple matter of which programs would be healthy enough to be part of March Madness.

Kansas and Virginia, two teams hit with COVID-19 breakouts over the past week, made it into the bracket released Sunday by the NCAA selection committee, signaling both schools believe they'll have enough healthy players to be ready for their tipoffs next weekend.

That there was any doubt about those two - Kansas is a perennial national power and Virginia is the reigning champion - securing spots in the 68-team field was the most jarring reminder the 2021 tournament itself is no sure thing.

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