NCAA shifts course, now planning on Tournament bubble
If Nate Watson and the Providence Friars can qualify for the NCAA Tournament, they’ll likely be headed to games in Indianapolis.
By KEVIN McNAMARA
The chances of the NCAA Tournament coming to Providence next March are over.
The NCAA announced Monday that it is now focusing on bringing the entire, 68-team tournament to one site. The favored site is the NCAA’s home city of Indianapolis. So 13 scheduled sites, including the Dunkin’ Donuts Center, will now be melted down to only one.
“We have learned so much from monitoring other successful sporting events in the last several months, and it became clear it’s not feasible to manage this complex championship in so many different states with the challenges presented by the pandemic,” said Dan Gavitt, NCAA Senior Vice President of Basketball. “However, we are developing a solid plan to present a safe, responsible and fantastic March Madness tournament unlike any other we’ve experienced.”
The Dunkin’ Donuts Center was one of eight sites selected several years ago to host first and second round games this March.
“It will be a tournament like we’ve never experienced before,” Gavitt said.
NCAA staff is in preliminary talks with the State of Indiana and the city of Indianapolis to potentially host the 68-team tournament around the metropolitan area during the coordinated dates in March and April. Indianapolis was already slated to host the Men’s Final Four from April 3-5, 2021.
The NCAA’s plan is to still hold a 68-team tournament. It will be interesting if some conferences – the ones that can afford it, anyways – take the NCAA’s lead and look at holding large portions of their schedules in a bubble setting.
Last month the NCAA awarded First and Second Round games in the 2025 men’s basketball Tournament to Providence. Games will be played March 20-23, 2025. Providence College and the Dunkin’ Donuts Center have hosted NCAA tourney games most recently in 2016 and 2010.