For the first time since 1939, a men’s national champion will not be decided with the spread of COVID-19.
Breaking: The NCAA has announced that the Division I men’s and women’s 2020 basketball tournaments have been canceled because of the coronavirus and its evolving threat to public health. pic.twitter.com/vRYThsP6yz
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) March 12, 2020
After the NCAA cancelled the tournament, rumors spread that it might still release a bracket on Selection Sunday. This was in a hope to at least give the team’s the moment when there name is called, securing their spot in the tournament.
Dan Gavitt, NCAA Men’s Basketball vice president, announced in a statement no bracket will be released for the 2020 NCAA Basketball Tournament.
“The important work of the basketball committees is to set up competitively balanced brackets to determine national champions,” Gavitt said. “I don’t believe it’s responsible or fair to do that with incomplete seasons, especially for tournaments that unfortunately won’t be played.”
Days Leading to Tournament
The sports world saw a bizarre sequence of events over just a few days as all games and venues were expected to go as planned on Sunday.
NCAA president Mark Emmert announced Wednesday the NCAA tournament will be held without fans in attendance. Just hours later, the NBA suspended the season after Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert tested positive for COVID-19. The following morning Gobert’s teammate, Donovan Mitchell, tested positive for the virus too.
Conference tournaments were to be played without fans before they were all cancelled on Thursday. Duke suspended athletics indefinitely and the NCAA was left with no choice but to cancel.
Gavitt said the goal was to find a way to make the tournament happen under any condition that was safe. He also said backup locations were lined up at Kansas City and Indianapolis for the first and second round games. Houston was a backup for the regional site as well.
ESPN bracketologist Joe Lunardi had the Florida Gators projected as a nine seed playing the eight seed Colorado Buffaloes Friday night in Cleveland, Ohio.
Correcting a couple of seed typos and an impermissible regular-season rematch. pic.twitter.com/ZlqV5cAigV
— Joe Lunardi (@ESPNLunardi) March 13, 2020