NCAA Tournament officials explain how a positive test, protocols will affect March Madness
There are still plenty of questions remaining about how the NCAA Tournament will play out given the unique bubble-type format, and additional COVID-19 protocols.
There have been multiple ranked teams faced with extended pauses to their season, and positive tests are still a concern. But during the NCAA rankings reveal show on CBS on Saturday, NCAA Senior Vice President of Basketball Dan Gavitt explained some of the plans laid out by officials.
Gavitt said one positive test “should not eliminate teams from the entirety of the (NCAA) tournament, as long as they maintain physical distancing and wearing masks. The team should be able to move on safely,” per Jeff Borzello of ESPN.
There was a movement by some who follow college basketball to evict Michigan from the top seed line after the Wolverines began a three-week hiatus in their program.
But chair Mitch Barnhart, Kentucky’s athletics director, said on CBS the committee members do not want to punish those teams that go on pause, and their work reflects that, the Sporting News reported.
At 13-1, Michigan remained on the top line. As did Baylor, which has won all 17 of its games but is in the middle of a stretch of five postponed games. Villanova was not pushed for playing just 15 games and held firmly as a No. 2 seed.
That followed another wrinkle reported on Friday from Scott Bell of the Dallas Morning News, who said, “Because of the pandemic, the NCAA has announced it is leaving it up to the conference’s discretion if their automatic qualifier to the NCAA tournament will be the regular season champ or the conference tournament champ. Conferences have until Feb. 26 to make their choices.”
With all that, the way conference tournaments and the Big Dance play out is very much up for discussion.