NCAA senior vice president for basketball, the closest thing the NCAA has to a commissioner, has gone public with the association’s reaction to a proposal from the ACC to have an open tournament this year.
In a word: nope. Not happening. Gavitt told Andy Katz that “Every college basketball team’s goal is to play in the NCAA Tournament because everyone loves March Madness.
“Certainly we missed it this year and can’t wait for 2021. While all who care about the game are entitled to their opinion, and we’ll always listen respectfully, at this time we are not working on any contingency plan that involves expanding the tournament field.”
So it doesn’t look like a massive expansion will happen. However, that doesn’t mean other imaginative solutions can’t happen, including, if we had our way, a 32-team opening tournament to frame the season with the NCAA normal March/April tournament, perhaps a Holiday Challenge of some sort and various different events.
If you can’t make one huge event, you can certainly implement the same idea with less need for Covid precautions (or at least less people to worry about), and maybe see if Dan Gilbert can let Mark Hollis moonlight for a bit.
Gilbert, who runs Quicken Loans and several other companies, recognized the former Michigan State A.D.’s genius for promotion and hired him as a consultant.
If we were the NCAA, we’d try to get him to do some pandemic imagining. He’s the guy who thought of the Cold War and the Carrier Classic. He is the right man for the job right now. The NCAA should pursue his services at all costs because he can do things no one else has the imagination to do.