Normally, July Joe Lunardi posts are at the bottom of the KSR barrel when we’re scrapping for news, but this morning, Joey Brackets wrote an article that’s actually pretty interesting. With the fate of college sports up in the air, Lunardi imagines what the 2021 NCAA Tournament might look like if the sport moves to conference-only schedules due to the coronavirus.
It’s a pretty lengthy proposal, but in short, Lunardi expands the field to 80 teams with 16 playing in a Bracket Buster play-in tournament at various sites the Tuesday and Wednesday before the main event. Teams that win both their regular season conference title and conference tournament would receive double byes. More details:
- It will be incredibly important to give the conference seasons as much meaning as possible. To that end, the regular-season champion of each receives an automatic NCAA bid. Conveniently, that is 32 spots.
- The conference tournaments are next and could result in up to 32 additional automatic bids (if a different team wins the regular-season title). Why would any conference not position itself to have a second team in the NCAA field? Because all double winners — regular season and conference tournament — receive a bye into the main 64-team bracket, protected seeding and an additional revenue unit.
- In a typical year, there would be 52-56 automatic bids (including 12-16 double winners). The remainder of an 80-team field will play down to 64 by extending the current First Four to a new and improved “Bracket Busters” concept. The University of Dayton Arena, plus as many of the existing first-weekend sites as needed, would host doubleheaders or tripleheaders on the Tuesday and Wednesday evenings after Selection Sunday.
A mini tournament before the actual tournament? Count me in. Check out the rest of Lunardi’s proposal at the link below. Joe’s still gonna Joe, so he also has an updated Bracketology in the traditional format, with Kentucky holding steady as a four-seed playing Murray State in its first game: