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NCAA considered abbreviated 16-team basketball tournament to salvage March Madness

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ACC Men’s Basketball Tournament - Second Round Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

We know now that there won’t be a NCAA basketball tournament on either the men’s or the women’s side, but there was a time this week during which the NCAA was trying to figure out how to salvage at least a piece of those events.

As the AP’s Ralph Russo reports, there was a discussion about an abbreviated 16-team tournament that would have been conducted over a handful of days in late March.

The idea was to have the selection committee choose the top 16 teams in the country, regardless of conference, to participate. The first three rounds would have been played from March 26-28, with a championship game on March 30. Gavitt said he believes eight or nine of the 32 Division I conferences could have been represented.

The concept wasn’t met with enthusiasm by the men’s selection committee after it was presented with the idea Thursday, and it doesn’t sound like that option was ever seriously considered before the tournament was canceled entirely.

I’ve been trying to decide if a 16-team event would have been better than nothing, and I’ve realized I can’t divorce a judgment on this issue from the fact that there’s absolutely no way NC State would have been involved. A tournament of any size that doesn’t include NC State is a bad idea, my brain is telling me.

Then again, if this had become a reality, they probably would have done the same thing for the women’s tournament, and NC State definitely would have been in that field. Tough call.

But in the end, there was still way too much health risk involved, not to mention a nightmare number of logistical hurdles to clear.