The Big Dance could be getting a whole lot larger in 2021 if the NCAA follows the ACC’s proposed plan.
The ACC’s plan—which the conference’s coaches voted for unanimously, per Goodman—would include more than 350 teams in the 2021 NCAA tournament. The week of conference tournaments would serve as the first week of the NCAA Tournament, with the field trimmed to 64 or 68 teams in the following week. The plan for selecting and seeding at-large bids has not been announced.
Notre Dame head coach Mike Brey supported the ACC’s plan on Wednesday.
“Let’s give all these student-athletes hope for a shot at the title after all they have been through over the past year,” Brey wrote in a statement. “I support my fellow ACC coaches in investigating how we can have an all-inclusive NCAA tournament this season.”
The 2020 NCAA tournament was canceled on March 12 amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Today, NCAA President Mark Emmert and the Board of Governors canceled the Division I men’s and women’s 2020 basketball tournaments, as well as all remaining winter and spring NCAA championships,” the NCAA said in a statement. “This decision is based on the evolving COVID-19 public health threat, our ability to ensure the events do not contribute to the spread of the pandemic, and the impracticality of hosting such events at any time during this academic year given ongoing decisions by other entities.”
The 2020-21 college basketball season is still slated to be held as scheduled, with the season kicking off on Nov. 10. Duke is set to face Michigan State in the State Farm Champions Classic, with Kansas and Kentucky finishing up the double-header in Chicago.
The first round of the 2021 NCAA tournament is currently set for March 16. The Final Four will be held at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis on April 3.