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Covid prevented last year’s NCAA tourneys. Now organizers have plans for a successful Big Dance

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At that time, there were approximately 1,650 cases and 41 deaths in total in the US.

Now, with the nation recording 29.3 million cases and more than 534,000 dead, the NCAA is gearing up for a tournament with a different look and feel.

These are some of the problems faced by tournament organizers in the Covid-19 era.

Will the tournament have the same number of teams this year?

At least one thing will be normal; the tournament will be played with 68 teams: 31 teams that will win an automatic bid by winning their conference and 37 teams selected by a committee. Some teams like it State of the Appalachians i Drexel i haven’t been to the big dance in a long time. Hartford makes its first appearance.

What if a school has to drop out?

He The NCAA said once the brackets are announced on Sunday at 6 p.m. ET, no equipment will be planted again. If schools cannot play, the replacement teams will only be able to enter the tournament up to 48 hours after the media leaves.

If a team that is a conference champion and the only representative in the league cannot play, it will be replaced by another conference team.

If a team from a multi-bid conference cannot play, it will be replaced by a team that was among the top four teams that the tournament selection committee set aside.

Once the games begin, if the teams cannot throw five players, they are out and their opponents receive free passes in the next round.

It is unclear what would happen if one of the Final Four teams has an outbreak.

Do players stay and play in a bubble?

The NCAA doesn’t call it a bubble, but all tournament games are played in Indiana. Most of the games are in Indianapolis, where many players and coaches will stay in hotels connected to training venues and a skywalks track.

Other games are short bus trips to the sands of the Purdue University and Indiana University campuses.

When the teams do not play, the teams will be mostly isolated from their floors in the hotel. Players will eat in their rooms or in a room where people are at least six meters apart.

How often will team members be tested?

Players, coaches, others traveling with the team and officers must have it seven consecutive days of negative testing before they reach Indianapolis. Then daily tests will be done.

People who are completely vaccinated within two weeks or who have had the virus and are within 90 days of infection will not have to get tested every day.

What will happen if a player gives a positive?

A player who has a positive test will be considered positive and will be isolated, NCAA senior vice president of basketball Dan Dan said this past week. All players will have a tracking device that can indicate who the athlete has had contact with. The isolated player will do a second test: a PCR test, which uses a nasal sample. If this is also positive, the player will remain isolated. A negative test result would lead to a third test, another PCR test.

Will there be fans in the stands?

Attendance at the games will be 25% limit arena size, the NCAA announced in February. That means about 17,500 people will be allowed to attend the Final Four at Lucas Oil Stadium.

“This year’s tournament will be like no other and while we know it won’t be the same for anyone, we look forward to offering a memorable experience for students-athletes, coaches and once-in-a-tournament fans from all over. life, ”Gavitt said.

All attendees – families and fans of players and coaches – must wear facials and maintain physical distance. In January, nearly 15,000 people attended the Division I football title game at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida.

In the Final Four, it looks like there will be more fans, as some places will be filled with clippings. The clippings cost $ 100, benefit profits and can be purchased at ncaa.com/finalfour.

“As we try to continue to engage fans during the men’s Final Four, we want to have an impact beyond improving the atmosphere on the venue,” NCAA President Mark Emmert said.

Did you say all games are in one state?

These are the scenarios that will be used in the tournament:

Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, with a capacity of approximately 18,000

Hinkle Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, 9,100

Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis, 70,000

Indiana Farmers Coliseum, Indianapolis, 6,800

Mackey Arena, West Lafayette, 14,222

Simon Skjodt Auditorium, Bloomington, 17,222

How does the schedule differ?

Did you take off on Thursday to sit in front of the TV from noon to midnight watching games? This year, the play-in games, called the first four, will be played on Thursday instead of a Tuesday. The good news is that Friday will still be full of games.

The game days of the first two weekends have changed this year, but the schedule for the Final Four is the same as in recent years:

  • First four, Thursday, March 18th
  • First round, Friday and Saturday, March 19 to 20
  • Second round, Sunday 21 March and Monday 22 March
  • Sweet 16, Saturday March 27th and Sunday March 28th
  • Elite Eight, Monday, March 29, and Tuesday, March 30
  • Final Four, Saturday, April 3rd
  • NCAA Championship Game, Monday, April 5th

Are there any teams or players that don’t go to the tournament?

Several teams had to abandon their conference tournaments due to positive tests.

The University of Virginia, technically the reigning champion because it won the 2019 test, and the University of Kansas will have to prove seven days of positive testing to be eligible to play.

He Ivy League did not play this season due to the Covid-19.

What about the women’s tournament?

The women’s tournament will be held in Texas, five places from the host city of San Antonio and with some games in Austin and San Marcos.

The schedule is also different from previous years, as the first round will start next Sunday. This year there will be initial matches on Tuesday and Wednesday. The championship contest is scheduled for April 4th.

The ability of fans of the games of the last four rounds will be 17% limit of the size of the arena, the NCAA said in February.

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