We already knew there will not be a NCAA men’s basketball tournament.
The Big Dance, which was scheduled to begin with First Four games in Dayton, Ohio on Tuesday, was canceled on Thursday by the NCAA due to the continuing public health threat of the novel coronavirus-caused COVID-19 pandemic.
Not only will there not be a tournament, there won’t even be a bracket.
NCAA senior vice president of basketball Dan Gavitt announced that Selection Sunday is also off.
There had been growing sentiment among coaches to still release a 68-team bracket, despite the fact that most conferences had not completed their conference tournaments, including all of the major conferences.
Many coaches receive contractual bonuses for reaching the NCAA Tournament, and schools traditionally use earning a berth as a reason to hang a banner in their arena.
“I have heard from many coaches and athletics directors who are trusted colleagues and friends that would like to see brackets released to recognize the successful seasons of their teams and student-athletes and to see who and where they would have played,” Gavitt wrote on NCAA.com
“Players and coaches want to see their school name on the bracket. Members of the media want to dissect matchups. Bracketologists want to compare the work of the committees versus what they’ve predicted. Fans are curious for those same reasons. All of us want something to fill the void we’re feeling.
“However, anything less than a credible process is inconsistent with the tradition of the NCAA basketball championships. Brackets based on hypotheticals can’t substitute for a complete selection, seeding and bracketing process.
“There will always be an asterisk next to the 2020 NCAA men’s and women’s basketball championships regardless if brackets are released. There is not an authentic way to produce tournament fields and brackets at this point without speculating and that isn’t fair to the teams that would be positively or negatively impacted by manufacturing March Madness.”
While there are many teams that will never know for sure if they would have made the 68-team field this year, Robert Morris is one of the few that can authentically claim a 2020 NCAA Tournament berth.
The Colonials won the Northeast Conference tournament at UPMC Events Center on Tuesday to become one a handful of teams officially in the field.