From the “Not sure why they decided to tell us this” department, the NCAA reportedly had at least one other option to dealing with the coronavirus. The AP’s Ralph Russo reported that VP of basketball Dan Gavitt noted that in an attempt to have something, the NCAA considered a 16-team tournament localized in Atlanta and played over a long weekend.
NCAA VP of basketball Dan Gavitt tells AP the association tried to salvage the postseason with a 16-team tournament, played over one long weekend in Atlanta.
— Ralph D. Russo (@ralphDrussoAP) March 13, 2020
This would’ve at least kept everything in one place but 16 teams full of players and staff would’ve still had a large group of people, defeating the purpose of preventing the spread of coronavirus. Also, teams like Duke and Kansas were already out before the NCAA canceled the tournament so it’s not like the best 16 teams would’ve been there. There’s also no indication if they would’ve done something for the women but given their Final Four was supposed to be in New Orleans, this may have just been for the men’s side.
Still, it’s fun to imagine what might’ve been. While details are light on how a 16-team tournament would’ve happened, four rounds would’ve meant that the tournament would’ve lasted four days with one round being played each day.
Going off of Joe Lunardi’s Bracketology, this would’ve been the tournament setup.
(1) Kansas vs. (4) Wisconsin
(2) Kentucky vs. (3) Duke
(1) Dayton vs. (4) Maryland
(2) Florida State vs. (3) Villanova
(1) Gonzaga vs. (4) Oregon
(2) San Diego St. vs. (3) Seton Hall
(1) Baylor vs. (4) Louisville
(2) Creighton vs. (3) Michigan State
This would’ve actually been a pretty fun mini-tournament. Lots of new teams with a shot at the title but alas, safety comes first and the NCAA made the right call to be on the safe side.
At least we get the chance to debate who would win the tournament so maybe that discussion will hold us over for the foreseeable future.