Big Ten moves men's tournament from Chicago to Indianapolis

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FILE - Big Ten signage is shown outside The Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, in this March 12, 2020, file photo. Big Ten officials have decided to move next month's men's basketball tournament from Chicago to Indianapolis. Games will be played March 10-14 at Lucas Oil Stadium, which also will be the site of this year's Final Four. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy, File)

INDIANAPOLIS – The Big Ten Conference announced Tuesday that its men's basketball tournament will move from Chicago to Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, the site of this year's Final Four.

The tournament will be played March 10-14 just a few blocks away from Bankers Life Fieldhouse where the women's tourney will take place the same week. Big Ten officials see the advantages of Indianapolis as a tournament site, especially amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The walkable hotels and restaurants, nearby venues and city’s web of skywalks provide a better opportunity of keeping players, coaches and staff members healthy.

“Hosting both the men’s and women’s basketball tournaments in the same city allows for cohesive testing and medical protocols for both events, as well as centralized accommodations surrounding the competition venues," the Big Ten said. It said the league planned to return to Chicago in 2023.

It's going to be a busy time for Indianapolis.

The Horizon League already was scheduled to use Indiana Farmers Coliseum at the state fairgrounds to host the conclusion of it's men's and women's tournaments March 8-9, but then things really pick up.

Local leaders have spent two months scrambling to accommodate the NCAA, which announced last month that all 67 men's tourney games will be played in Indianapolis and its surrounding communities.

The coliseum, Lucas Oil Stadium, historic Hinkle Fieldhouse and Bankers Life Fieldhouse, home of the NBA's Indiana Pacers and WNBA's Indiana Fever, will host most of the games. Assembly Hall at Indiana University and Mackey Arena at Purdue, both about one hour from downtown Indy, are scheduled to host the other games.