The NCAA Tournament is now a one location event.
The move is not official, but recent reports indicate that the NCAA and its board are leaning towards Indianapolis being the city that holds the tournament.
Gregg Doyal of the Indianapolis Star reported that the NCAA senior vice president Dan Gavitt has held preliminary discussions with Indianapolis as the hosting city.
“Preliminary discussions have been solely with Indianapolis, but we do have other cities on a list to consider should it not materialize (with Indy) the way we hope it will.”
The Tournament would not be held in a “bubble” in fact reports indicate that they are calling it a “controlled environment.” However, these are just early indicators of what may be to come to the city. The overall goal would be to bring all 68 teams into one place to help mitigate the threat of a COVID-19 outbreak derailing the entire tournament.
More than anything else, what the tournament moving to Indianapolis means is a sense of normalcy returning to the world. The NCAA’s goal is to have the same number of teams competing, and the same amount of games played. Yet, some logistical changes might take place. One of those changes will most likely be the timing of the First Four game. It will probably not take place just 48 hours before selection Sunday. That would give the NCAA far more hurdles to jump over than it already has.
Another differing aspect will be that once teams arrive, no one will be leaving until a loss. Once eliminated from the Tournament you are free to go.
Tournaments in controlled environments have worked previously. For example, TBT’s tournament during the heart of the pandemic in July worked seamlessly, with very few overall infections. If anything that goes to show just how this can be done.
The NCAA is also reportedly leaning towards hosting the women and men’s tournaments in two separate cities, according to Gregg Doyel.
What is next:
This year has been chalked full of bad news for many Americans. But the return of March Madness could mean the country is turning a corner and embracing a sense of normal. The 2021 tournament may look different, but let’s celebrate that it is happening.
As the logistics are worked out, we will know more about what facilities and gyms the NCAA plan on using to play games and host practices for the teams involved.
I am a college basketball writer primarily based in Nashville, covering all mid-major activity along with Big Ten hoops.