If you’re a college basketball fan looking for assurances from on high, now isn’t a bad time to hear from Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski.
“We’re going to have March Madness,” he said Wednesday on a Zoom call with reporters.
That felt like a needed sense of assurance on a day when COVID cases are escalating across the country, Wisconsin football is temporarily shutting down its program after a single game and teams are scrambling to fill holes in their schedules created when ESPN canceled the multi-team tournaments it had been planning for a “bubble” environment in Orlando.
The rest of college basketball still is figuring itself out, less than a month from the declared Nov. 25 starting date issued by the NCAA. The Big East released its December schedule of league games, but not a full slate; teams will play four or five conference games before Christmas at home sites. Most other major leagues have not released even that much of a schedule.
“There is no ‘regular season.’ From the very start, this was looked at as a time where we have a pandemic and there’s not going to be a regular season — the way we’ve had it,” Krzyzewski said. “So the NCAA got a starting date, and they have an ending date. Nothing against them, but that’s the main thing they’re concerned about.
“And then it really goes up to the conferences to figure it all out.”
Krzyzewski said although he is certain that there will be an NCAA Tournament staged in some form, it is unclear to him how teams will qualify for the field. Ideally, it would be a full 68-team tournament, but even if it is, it will be a challenge to determine which teams belong.