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NCAA tried to save March Madness with 16 teams instead of 68, report says

As it became clear the tournaments couldn't be held amid the coronavirus outbreak, officials toyed with a plan to crown a national champion in one long weekend.

WASHINGTON — As it became apparent the NCAA basketball tournaments could not be held over three weeks because of concerns about the coronavirus, college sports officials toyed with a plan to hold a 16-team event to crown a champion in one long weekend. 

NCAA vice president of men's basketball Dan Gavitt tells AP he started to consider ways of condensing the tournament Wednesday night after the NBA announced one of its players tested positive for the virus and the league suspended its season. 

He hoped the men's games could be played in Atlanta, with the committee choosing the top 16 teams in the country, regardless of conference to participate. 

The first three rounds would have been played Thursday-Saturday, with a championship game Monday night.

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Credit: AP
Fans leave the Sprint Center after the remaining NCAA college basketball games after in the Big 12 Conference tournament were canceled due to concerns about the coronavirus Thursday, March 12, 2020, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)