NCAA College Basketball

NCAA VP confident March Madness will return in 2021


NCAA senior executive vice president of basketball Dan Gavitt is optimistic that next year’s March Madness tournament will run as scheduled.

“We have great confidence that – while things may be different with this season and with the tournament – we’re going to be able to do it in a very safe and responsible manner,” Gavitt told NCAA.com’s Andy Katz.

He added: “If there’s basketball being played safely anywhere in 2021, we’re going to have March Madness.”

Gavitt said the men’s basketball committee discussed how it might determine automatic and at-large tournament bids should other conferences follow the Ivy League’s lead and limit their schedule by limiting or eliminating non-conference matchups.

“One, we’re going to be very flexible with the automatic qualifier status of each league,” Gavitt said. “So going all the way into probably February, allowing conferences to change their automatic qualifier determination if necessary in order to be very flexible and work closely with out conferences.

“And two, around our metric – the NCAA evaluation tool (NET) – and other metrics. We’ve been working with Google, who helped develop the NET for us, to see what would it mean if there were no non-conference games, if there were fewer non-conference games, (or) conference only games? How would that impact the NET and other analytic tools the committee uses? And frankly, it would pose a problem. … The efficacy of the NET and other metrics would be challenged.”

The 2020 NCAA Tournament was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic. It was the first year since 1939 that the men’s NCAA basketball tournament wasn’t played.

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