NCAA Tournament Could Feature Nearly 350 Teams In 2021

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A year after no one played in the NCAA Tournament, it’s possible that virtually every Division 1 team could compete for the college basketball championship.

Coaches from the ACC voted unanimously to propose an All-inclusive NCAA Tournament, multiple reports indicated. That means every Division 1 team that is eligible for the postseason would make the tournament, which is currently limited to a 68-team field.

The 2020 NCAA Tournament was canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic. No national champion was crowned.

Featuring 15 teams, the ACC includes some of the most powerful coaches in all of college sports. Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski has the most wins in college basketball history, and Jim Boeheim of Syracuse ranks second on the all-time list. Roy Williams of North Carolina is fourth.

“This is a unique time and it’s time to do something different,” Boeheim told Stadium.

Boeheim has long been a proponent of expanding the size of the tournament. In the past, other coaches have called for the field to be nearly doubled to 128 teams.

An all-inclusive tournament could feature 346 teams, Stadium’s Jeff Goodman reports. There are 357 teams total in Division 1 college basketball, but 11 schools wouldn’t be eligible to compete during March Madness 2021 for various reasons.

 

Told there are 346 D-1 teams of the 357 overall eligible for the NCAA tournament.

– Seven are reclassifiers.

– Three are ineligible due to APR.

– Oklahoma State ineligible for tourney.

— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanHoops) September 9, 2020

 

 

Plan would turn conference championship week into the opening round of the Big Dance. From there the field is reduced to 64-68 by the following week.

— Pat Forde (@ByPatForde) September 9, 2020

 

 

pic.twitter.com/Tn5kldaT3J

— Chris Mack (@CoachChrisMack) September 9, 2020

 

“I am so proud to stand united with every coach in the ACC in the belief that every Division I college basketball program should be allowed to participate in the NCAA Tournament this year!” Wake Forest coach Steve Forbes tweeted. “This is what’s best for our student-athletes, fans and the sport of college basketball. It will incentivize everyone that loves and cares about our great sport during these unprecedented times, and it will provide a safe environment for all to participate in. Let’s get this done!”

If the plan goes into effect, conference tournaments would be eliminated, Sports Illustrated’s Pat Forde reported. The field would get reduced to 64-68 teams within a week.

Expansion was last implemented in 2011 when the field went from 64 to 68 teams. There have been at least 64 teams in the NCAA Tournament since 1985.

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