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College basketball calendar won’t change anytime soon

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Early Wednesday Jon Wilner of the San Jose Mercury wrote an article in which he made note of a conversation he had with NCAA vice president of men’s basketball Dan Gavitt about the possibility of moving back the start of the college basketball season. This idea was proposed by Pac-12 deputy commissioner Jamie Zaninovich in March (and others before him), with the move to make college basketball a one-semester sport seen as something that could potentially benefit all involved.

Gavitt did note to Wilner that there are some within college sports would like to see the possibility be addressed, but that doesn’t mean the NCAA is anywhere near deciding to begin the college basketball season in mid-December. Wednesday evening Gavitt issued a statement on the matter, noting that the NCAA has tournament dates locked in through 2018 (first/second and regional rounds) and 2021 (Final Four).

That’s one important reason why a calendar switch won’t be coming anytime soon.

“The topic of shifting the NCAA men’s basketball season and the championship is not currently under formal discussion nor on the agenda of the Division I men’s basketball committee,” Gavitt said in the statement.

Of course with “March Madness” being a staple in American sports, more than a few reacted negatively to suggestions that college basketball should be played in just one semester. Also worth considering, which was noted by Gavitt in Wilner’s story, is the need for arenas during the NCAA tournament.

In the current setup the NCAA won’t have an issue setting dates for the NCAA tournament. However moving to one semester would likely put the NCAA tournament up against the NBA and NHL playoffs when it comes to arena dates should they want to use pro arenas, and good luck getting those franchises to give up those dates.

‘First four out’ to receive one-seeds in Postseason NIT

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One of the biggest questions that gets asked in the immediate aftermath of the NCAA tournament bracket being announced is which teams were the ones closest to getting into the field. Of course with “bracketology” being what it is today, we tend to have a better idea of which teams those are, but the NCAA has decided to ensure that the four teams in question are rewarded in the Postseason NIT.

Wednesday afternoon the NCAA announced that the “first four out” of the NCAA tournament field will be the one-seeds in the Postseason NIT. With the first three rounds of the Postseason NIT being played on college campuses (the higher seeds host), those teams won’t have to leave campus before a possible trip to Madison Square Garden for the semifinals and title game.

“We think this is a natural progression to make, given that these are the last four teams under consideration for the NCAA tournament,” Dan Gavitt, NCAA vice president of men’s basketball championships, said in the release.

“They have earned the opportunity to be a number one seed in the NIT and play home games in their quest to make it to Madison Square Garden for the NIT championship. We believe this is an appropriate way to connect these two postseason tournaments.”

With the NCAA taking control of the NIT in 2005, efforts have been made to greater connect the two postseason events and Wednesday’s news is the latest step in that regard. Since 2012 the NCAA has released an overall seed list (tournament teams ranked 1 through 68) that includes the first four teams left out of the NCAA tournament.

This year’s Postseason NIT will also serve as a testing ground of sorts for two possible rules changes, with games using a 30-second shot clock and a block/charge arc of four feet (increased from three feet). The Division I men’s basketball rules committee will use the data from NIT and CBI games as part of the evaluation process when it comes to the possibility of making these changes permanent.

NCAA Tournament to call Round of 64 the ‘First Round’, and more sites released

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The NCAA sent out a release on Monday morning announcing the sites of future NCAA tournaments, but before we get into that, here is the big news: The Round of 64 and the Round of 32 will now be called … the first and second round!

Finally!

After years of hand-wringing and disgruntled writers complaining about one of the dumbest things in college basketball, the NCAA has finally decided that they will stop referring to those rounds as the second and third round beginning with the 2016 tournament.

The reason that those names were put into place was to eliminate the use of the term ‘play-in games’ for the First Four. It was a branding effort, really, and it worked. While the First Four is still termed the play-in games by most outlets, it’s used in the same way that the Final Four games are called the national semifinals.

The only weird part of the release is that the change won’t happen until the 2016 tournament.

Anyway, on to the sites.

The NCAA announced on Friday the locations of the Final Four through the 2021 season, as Indy, which hosts in 2015 and 2021, will bookend a rotation featuring Houston (2016), Phoenix (2017), San Antonio (2018), Minneapolis (2019) and Atlanta (2020).

On Monday, the sites for the first four rounds of the 2016-2018 tournaments were announced. Dayton will keep First Four duties for at least four more years, which is great news for a city that has really supported the event. As far as the rest of the preliminary round sites:

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NCAA

Notes: Neither Brooklyn nor Des Moines have ever hosted NCAA tournament games. Good on the NCAA on bringing the tournament back to NYC, although the Barclays Center doesn’t have the same character as Madison Square Garden.

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NCAA

Notes: Hey look! The NCAA tournament back at the Garden! This is something the NCAA should do as often as possible. It’s just a great setting for the games.

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NCAA

Notes: Wichita will get an NCAA tournament game for the first time in more than 70 years. Oh, and it’s official, there will be no domes until the Final Four in any of these three tournaments.