2020 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament
|2020 NCAA Division I|
Men's Basketball Tournament
|Finals site||Mercedes-Benz Stadium (purposed)|
Atlanta, Georgia (purposed)
The 2020 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament was a planned single-elimination tournament of 68 teams to determine the men's National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I college basketball national champion for the 2019–20 season. On March 12, the tournament, as well as all other NCAA championships for the remainder of the academic season, was cancelled in the wake of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. It was the first time the tournament had been cancelled since its creation in 1939.
2020 NCAA Tournament schedule and venues
The following list contains the sites that were to host each round of the 2020 tournament:
First and Second Rounds
- March 19 and 21
- March 20 and 22
- Greensboro Coliseum Complex, Greensboro, North Carolina (Host: Atlantic Coast Conference)
- CHI Health Center Omaha, Omaha, Nebraska (Host: Creighton University)
- Golden 1 Center, Sacramento, California (Host: Sacramento State University)
- Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse, Cleveland, Ohio (Host: Mid-American Conference/Cleveland State University)
Regional Semifinals and Finals (Sweet Sixteen and Elite Eight)
- March 26 and 28
- March 27 and 29
National Semifinals and Championship (Final Four and Championship)
The timing of the tournament coincided with the wider spread of the Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak in the United States. On March 10, the Ivy League announced it had cancelled the conference's tournament, and would award its championship and automatic qualification to Yale based on regular season records. Harvard University was scheduled to host the event at Lavietes Pavilion in Boston on March 14 and 15. Some conferences subsequently announced they would go on with their tournaments while holding their games behind closed doors with no outside spectators and limited attendance, especially on March 11 (when the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic).
The NCAA subsequently announced it would go on with its winter-sport championships, including its basketball tournaments, with attendance limited to essential staff and family members. Some venues (such as those in Ohio and California) enacted further local numerical restrictions on the numbers of those who could attend an event, which the NCAA agreed to respect. Reports also stated that for practicality reasons, the NCAA was considering re-locating some of the later rounds (including the regional finals and the Final Four, the latter scheduled to be held at the 71,000-seat Mercedes-Benz Stadium) to smaller venues within the same host cities.
On March 12, after the NBA suspended its regular season following the diagnosis of a player with COVID-19, all conferences that had not yet concluded tournament play announced they would be scrapping their tournaments. With the decision to cancel the 2020 Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Tournament, all games that had yet to be played in the basketball season were cancelled, while the Big East called off its tournament at halftime during a quarter-final game between Creighton and St. John's. Most major conferences also announced suspensions of all athletics to varying degrees. Later in the day, the NCAA announced the tournament would be cancelled, along with all remaining winter and spring championships for the academic year.
The NCAA had not ruled out publishing what would have been its at-large selections and bracket. Vice president of men's basketball Dan Gavitt told the Associated Press that he had proposed holding a shortened, 16-team tournament in Atlanta (split between State Farm Arena and Mercedes-Benz Stadium) as an alternative, with all participants chosen by the selection committee, before the decision was made to cancel the entire tournament due to Rudy Gobert's diagnosis. The NCAA ultimately decided against releasing any brackets, with Gavitt stating, "Brackets based on hypotheticals can’t substitute for a complete selection, seeding and bracketing process."
As part of a cycle that began in 2016, TBS was scheduled to televise the 2020 Final Four and national championship game. CBS was scheduled to televise the selection show. CBS Sports and Turner Sports announced on March 16 that all technicians and utility staff who were expected to work the NCAA March Madness coverage would still be paid. Radio rightsholder Westwood One announced plans to offer encores of radio broadcasts from classic NCAA tournament games—accompanied by interviews with notable figures from the respective games—to fill the time slots it had originally devoted to the tournament. CBS similarly announced on March 19 that it would also air nine classic Final Four games across the weekend afternoons of March 21, 22, and 29.
The following teams had automatically qualified for the 2020 NCAA field by virtue of winning their conference's tournament. All conference tournaments that had not been completed were cancelled, the majority of which without naming an automatic qualifier.
|America East||Vermont [a]||26-7||8th||2019|
|American||Tournament cancelled, no automatic bid|
|Atlantic 10||Tournament cancelled, no automatic bid|
|ACC||Florida State [b]||26–5||18th||2019|
|Big 12||Tournament cancelled, no automatic bid|
|Big East||Tournament cancelled, no automatic bid|
|Big Sky||Tournament cancelled, no automatic bid|
|Big Ten||Tournament cancelled, no automatic bid|
|Big West||Tournament cancelled, no automatic bid|
|C-USA||Tournament cancelled, no automatic bid|
|Ivy League||Yale [c]||23–7||6th||2019|
|MEAC||Tournament cancelled, no automatic bid|
|Mountain West||Utah State||26–8||22nd||2019|
|Pac-12||Tournament cancelled, no automatic bid|
|Patriot League||Boston University||21–13||8th||2011|
|Southern||East Tennessee State||30–4||11th||2017|
|Southland||Tournament cancelled, no automatic bid|
|SWAC||Tournament cancelled, no automatic bid|
|Summit League||North Dakota State||25–8||5th||2019|
|Sun Belt||Tournament cancelled, no automatic bid|
|WAC||New Mexico State [g]||25-6||23rd||2019|
- Vermont received the automatic bid after the America East Tournament was cancelled due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
- Florida State received the automatic bid after the ACC Tournament was cancelled due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
- Yale received the automatic bid after the Ivy League Tournament was cancelled due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
- Siena received the automatic bidafter the MAAC Tournament was cancelled due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
- Akron received the automatic bid after the MAC Tournament was cancelled due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
- Kentucky received the automatic bid after the SEC Tournament was cancelled due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
- New Mexico State received the automatic bid after the WAC Tournament was cancelled due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
- Impact of the 2019–20 coronavirus pandemic on sports
- 2020 NCAA Division I Women's Basketball Tournament
- 2020 NCAA Division II Men's Basketball Tournament
- 2020 NCAA Division III Men's Basketball Tournament
- 2020 NAIA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament
- 2020 National Invitation Tournament
- "Future Division I Men's Basketball Championship sites". NCAA. April 21, 2017.
- "Siena to Host NCAA Basketball Tournament Next Three Years". Siena College. April 21, 2017.
- "Ivy cancels conference tourneys, cites coronavirus". ESPN.com. March 10, 2020. Retrieved March 27, 2020.
- Schad, Tom (March 11, 2020). "NCAA men's and women's basketball tournaments will not include fans due to coronavirus concerns". USA Today. Retrieved March 11, 2020.
- Tom Schad (March 11, 2020). "NCAA men's and women's basketball tournaments will not include fans due to coronavirus concerns". USA Today. Retrieved March 11, 2020.
- Terranova, Justin (March 11, 2020). "March Madness 2020 could change Final Four venue amid coronavirus crisis". New York Post. Retrieved March 12, 2020.
- "The Day Sports Shut Down". Wall Street Journal. March 12, 2020. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved March 28, 2020.
- "Conference championships canceled across board". ESPN.com. March 12, 2020. Retrieved March 28, 2020.
- "NCAA cancels remaining winter and spring championships". NCAA.org. March 12, 2020. Retrieved March 28, 2020.
- "NCAA weighing release of 68-team bracket despite cancellation of 2020 NCAA Tournament over coronavirus". CBSSports.com. Retrieved March 13, 2020.
- "AP Exclusive: NCAA tried to save March Madness with 16 teams". Associated Press. March 13, 2020. Retrieved March 13, 2020.
- "NCAA's Gavitt: Basketball championship brackets will not be released for 2020 | NCAA.com". www.ncaa.com. Retrieved March 21, 2020.
- "CBS Sports and Turner Sports announce 2020 March Madness commentators". NCAA. March 10, 2020. Retrieved March 10, 2020.
- Gleeson, Scott. "CBS will stick with popular brackets-first format for NCAA tournament Selection Sunday show". USA Today. Retrieved March 5, 2020.
- Digital, Brandon Costa, Director of. "CBS Sports, Turner Sports Will Pay All March Madness Technicians and Utilities, Including Freelancers". Sports Video Group. Retrieved March 17, 2020.
- "Westwood One will air classic NCAA Tournament games in its normal tournament windows". Awful Announcing. March 18, 2020. Retrieved March 18, 2020.
- Joyce, Greg (March 20, 2020). "CBS giving fans March Madness fix of classic games". New York Post. Retrieved March 20, 2020.
- "America East championship, NCAA Tournament canceled amid COVID‐19 concerns". Retrieved March 12, 2020.
- Boone, Kyle (March 12, 2020). "2020 ACC Tournament canceled amid coronavirus pandemic concerns". CBSSports.com. CBS Sports. Retrieved March 13, 2020.
- Fuller, Jim (March 10, 2020). "Ivy League tournament canceled, Yale men receive automatic NCAA bid". NHRegister.com. New Haven Register. Retrieved March 13, 2020.
- "2020 MAAC Men's Basketball Championship". Retrieved March 12, 2020.
- "MAC Tournament Press Conference: March 12, 2020". Retrieved March 12, 2020.
- "SEC cancels remainder of Men's Basketball Tournament". SECSports.com.
- "WAC Official Statement". Retrieved March 12, 2020.