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A tournament group of 80 teams probably won’t happen, but it could work that way

Just in case the 48 and 16 team versions are not enough to satisfy the need for pandemic alternatives to the traditional NCAA tournament field of 68 teams. We present the first monthly update of a potential 80-team bracket.

Here’s a refresher on the basics:

• All conference champions – regular season and tournament – qualify for the extended field.

• Instead of the current first four games, 16 opening round competitions would be distributed among the four regions. These games would be played in the higher seed’s home court (without fans).

• Teams that win both regular season championships and conference tournaments – double qualification if you will – receive an opening round. You will become part of a 48-person group that goes straight to the central tournament area.

• The total number of teams, set at 37 due to the Ivy League’s elimination this year, varies between 32 and 48 depending on the number of “double qualifiers” (the typical number of teams in this category is 12 to 16).

• Reduced travel will be taken into account in the opening rounds if this is possible without unduly affecting the competitive balance.

• Existing principles for avoiding intra-conference pairing remain in place.

These pairings are updated by games on December 28th (currently projected “double” qualifiers are listed with a bye in ALL CAPS; current “bid stealers” are in bold):

WOOD REGION

(1) GONZAGA vs. (20) MOUNT ST. MARY’S
(8) Virginia Tech /(15) Boise State (9) Indiana / (14) Alabama
(5) OREGON vs. (16) WRIGHT STATE
(4) Texas Tech versus (17) GEORGIA STATE

(6) Clemson versus (11) USC / (12) Seton Hall
(3) Illinois versus (18) HOFSTRA
(7) Xavier versus (10) NC State / (13) Maryland
(2) Texas vs. (19) COLGATE

MARAVICH REGION

(1) Baylor vs. (20) NORFOLK STATE
(8) Arkansas / (14) Providence vs. (9) Purdue / (13) Ole Miss
(5) San Diego State versus (16) FURMAN
(4) Rutgers versus (17) TOLEDO

(6) Virginia versus (11) Richmond / (12) BYU
(3) Iowa vs. (18) ABILENE CHRISTIAN
(7) Duke vs. (10) Stanford / (12) SMU
(2) TENNESSEE vs. (19) SOUTHERN UTAH

NAISMITH REGION

(1) VILLANOVA vs. (20) TEXAS SOUTHERN
(8) Saint Louis / (13) Penn State vs. (9) UCLA / (12) Drake
(5) FLORIDA STATE vs. (16) WINTHROP
(4) Michigan vs. (17) NEW MEXICO STATE

(6) Michigan State vs. (15) WESTERN KENTUCKY
(3) West Virginia versus (18) BELMONT
(7) Louisville / (14) Arizona State vs. (10) LSU / (11) Maryland
(2) HOUSTON versus (19) UC IRVINE

PHOG ALLEN REGION

(1) KANSAS vs. (20) STONY BROOK
(8) Florida /(15) Davidson (9) Minnesota / (14) Arizona
(5) Ohio State vs. (16) LOYOLA CHICAGO
(4) Missouri vs. (17) FREEDOM

(6) North Carolina versus (11) NORTHWESTERN / (12) Oklahoma
(3) Creighton vs. (18) SOUTH DAKOTA STATE
(7) Colorado versus (10) Syracuse / (13) UConn
(2) Wisconsin versus (19) SAINT PETER’S

LAST FOUR BYES

Clemson
duke
Xavier
Colorado

LAST FOUR IN

Penn State
Alabama
Maryland
Arizona State

FIRST FOUR OFF

TCU
Marquette
Saint Mary’s
VCU

NEXT FOUR OFF

Dayton
UCF
Georgia
Utah

MULTI-BID CONFERENCES

Big Ten (13)
ACC (9)
Big 12 (7)
Pac-12 (7)
SEC (7)
Great East (6)
Atlantic 10 (3)
West Coast (3)
American (2)
Mountain West (2)

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