ACC hoops coaches to propose all-inclusive 2021 NCAA Tournament

photo by: Nick Krug

Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski congratulates Kansas guard Frank Mason III (0) after the Jayhawks' 77-75 win.

There has been talk in the past about expanding the men’s basketball NCAA Tournament from 68 teams to 72, 96 or even 128. But if the ACC coaches get their way in 2020, those numbers will look tiny.

According to multiple reports Wednesday morning from national college basketball writers across the country, the ACC coaches this week voted unanimously to propose a plan that allows all Division I men’s basketball teams to participate in the 2021 NCAA Tournament.

Not most. Not more. Not almost all. All.

Stadium’s Jeff Goodman reported that the idea was led by Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski. And it has been met with mixed reaction since the proposal surfaced.

Some love it. Included on that list is Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim, who said that the 2020-21 season is going to be different anyway and that the powers that be need to think differently to make it work.

Others hate it. And it’s easy to see why without all of the details of the plan being known or digested yet.

At its core, the proposed plan appears to be designed to bring equality to the season.

Rather than letting each school or conference figure things out for itself, therein running the risk of repeating what college football is facing, — with two of the five power conferences not even playing this fall — Coach K and his ACC counterparts are trying to come up with a one-size-fits-all solution for college hoops.

What’s good for the Dukes isn’t always good for the Dartmouths. But the ACC, at least for this strange season, is seeking to make sure that’s not true in 2020.

Will the super-sized tournament replace most if not all of the the non-conference portion of the regular season? Will we still have conference play to determine seeding? Will this thing even work?

Those questions, and many more, still need to be answered. And the good news is there’s time to answer them. But whether you like the idea or not, this, to me, is merely the latest good sign of college basketball’s top leaders staying in front of the pandemic and trying to make sure they are as prepared as possible for the start of the 2020-21 season.

It may start in November. It may be moved to January. It may start with a tournament. It may include a mega tournament or even a mini tourney.

Now is the time to sort those things out, and that appears to be exactly what is happening here.

A proposal does not mean this is the way it’s going to be. The ACC’s plan still would need a ton of support from across the country in order to work. And Krzyzewski himself, in an interview with The Athletic, even said he would be all-in on supporting a better idea, “if there is one.”

A week from today, we’ll have a little better idea of the direction in which things are headed.

That’s when the Division I Council will meet to determine start dates for winter sports. The council is not likely to react publicly to the ACC’s plan at that time, but you can bet it will be discussed.

~ The ACC coaches have been rolling out their support of the plan on social media throughout the day. Here’s a look at some of the messages that have come out ~


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