One in four coaches polled believe conference tournaments don’t make sense this season.
Most feel it is unnecessary in an already unorthodox season, are they right?
One in four coaches polled believe conference tournaments should be canceled this year.
Matt Norlander of CBS Sports polled college basketball coaches this past week and found a shared opinion among them, conference tournaments shouldn’t be played this year.
Coaches were asked “Should your league stage a conference tournament this season?” with the answers “Yes” and “No” as possible answers. This was sent to coaches at all levels with records good and bad to truly gauge if coaches feel a conference tournament is necessary for such a different year. Of the 41 coaches who took part, 73% said yes and 27% said no.
So let’s make some quick bullet points (literally two, hard to argue more) on the pros and cons of canceling conference tournaments this year. As there is still a group out there, represented by those who took the poll who feel maybe it is unnecessary this season.
Pro to not hosting a conference tournament
-It provides teams that win a regular-season automatic bid ample time to quarantine.
This seems to be the main concern of coaches who have been on the front line of game postponements, cancellations, and scheduling issues galore all year. As no conference in the country has been immune to positive tests within one of its programs. The turnaround time on the estimated conclusion of conference tournaments and the start of the NCAA tournament seems too close for some.
Take the Mountain West Conference Tournament in Las Vegas for example. The event is set to run from March 10th-13th, with selection Sunday taking place the following day March 14th. Who is to say the champion or those on the bubble don’t punch their tickets in those two to three days. Only to yield positive tests and go on “pause” unable to play at the start of the tournament on March 18th. Therein lies the problem for some who would prefer a regular-season champion be crowned instead.
The Mountain West for example wraps up the season March 1st, a Monday match up in Fort Collins between Colorado State and Air Force. So now say a team doesn’t finish atop their conference standings and hears their name called on selection Sunday. The window for teams to quarantine in preparation for a March 18th start in Indianapolis just shrunk dramatically compared to knowing weeks before at the conclusion of the regular season.
The NCAA is currently mandating all Tier 1 personnel on NCAA Tournament selected teams to return negative COVID-19 tests for seven consecutive days segueing to a team’s departure for Indianapolis. That means teams have to begin returning negative tests on March 11th, three days before selection Sunday. And that’s under the impression they arrive the day before games are scheduled to begin, which is likely not the case.
For programs with big dance aspirations, winning the conference tournament and receiving an automatic bid to only be ruled out with positive tests days later would crush those involved. It adds an element to the process that undermines competing in the first place. Now let’s argue from the other side.