NCAA not considering bubble for this year’s basketball tournament

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The NCAA men’s and women’s basketball tournaments are scheduled to go on as planned amid a rise in postponements and cancellations in regular-season games.

NCAA Senior Vice President of Basketball Dan Gavitt told that the tournament was slated to go on in the normal format and there has been no discussion of playing in a bubble like last season.

The 2020-21 season got off to a late start due to the pandemic and both tournaments were held at single sites— the men in central Indiana and the women in San Antonio.

The 2022 men’s NCAA tournament is scheduled to start March 15 with the Final Four set for New Orleans on April 2-4. The women’s tourney begins March 18 and culminates in Minneapolis on April 1-3.

“We are certainly closely monitoring the unfortunate and sudden COVID spike and will consider any adjustments as necessary for the health, safety and success of the championships,” Gavitt said on Wednesday. “However, despite the current challenges we’re experiencing in college basketball, the solutions to these problems during this phase of the pandemic are likely quite different than the dramatic championship format changes we had to adopt last year.”

The NCAA reduced the number of games needed to be eligible for the 2021 men’s tournament to 13 because the condensed season limited chances for make-up games.

Gavitt said there was no reason to alter plans for the 2021-22 season since it started on time and and there are a variety of mitigation aspects to combat the virus, including vaccines and boosters. He added games that aren’t played will be declared no contest and the selection committee will be aware of those games.

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