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March...Total Madness?

Could UVM already be guaranteed a spot in the NCAA Tournament?
Published: Sep. 9, 2020 at 8:53 PM EDT
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - Are you ready for March...Total Madness? With conversations ongoing about what a college basketball season might look like this season, the head coaches of the men’s basketball programs for the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) have unanimously voted on a proposal that the 2021 NCAA Tournament should include ever Division One program in the country.

The ACC’s plan would reportedly include more than 350 teams in what would truly be March Madness. 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. Legendary Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski was reportedly the one spearheading the push for an all-inclusive NCAA Tournament. In a statement, Coach K said, “This is not a regular season. It Is clearly an irregular season that will require something different. Our sport needs to be agile and creative.”

The UVM men’s basketball team has made the NCAA Tournament seven times since 2003, and were set to host the America East championship game last March when that game and the NCAA Tournament was canceled due to the pandemic.

Vermont has been a favorite, or the favorite, to win the America East for almost two decades, but playing in a low, mid-major conference that has only ever received one bid to the NCAA Tournament a season, one upset or one bad night can end a season and a team’s dreams of advancing to the Big Dance.

John Becker has led the Hoopcats to the NCAA Tournament three times, but was also upset twice in the America East tournament when Vermont was the top seed.

Channel Three Sports reached out to UVM men’s basketball head coach John Becker for reaction to the ACC’s proposal, and, on the surface, he’s a fan of the plan, issuing this statement:

“The ACC’s proposed all-inclusive NCAA Tournament is another interesting idea that has arisen over the past couple weeks. The NCAA will make it’s recommendations for the men’s basketball season on September 16th, and I imagine things will move quickly from there. But, yeah, we’d love to make the NCAA Tournament this year.”

The NCAA Division I Council is expected to announce a decision on the format for winter sports, including men’s and women’s basketball, on Sept. 16th.

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