Brad Brownell: 'It would be worse to miss the NCAA Tournament'
Pulling off the NCAA Tournament will not be easy this year, and the NCAA’s protocols for the event suggest such.
CBS Sports.com reported possible protocols on Thursday, including one rule that suggest teams that earn an automatic or an at large-bid to the tournament must have their players, coaches or any one of the 34-person travel roster pass seven consecutive COVID-19 tests in order to participate in the tournament.
Because these protocols are so strict, the probability of conference tournaments, such as the ACC’s, could be canceled as a result, or teams that feel they have already earned an NCAA Tournament berth could opt out.
Though Clemson head coach Brad Brownell is a fan of the ACC Tournament, and as a competitor he wants to play, he suggests it makes more sense not to have the conference tournament.
“It would be worse to miss the NCAA Tournament than the conference tournament if you were a qualifying team,” he said.
Brownell feels the players would vote for the NCAA Tournament if they were asked.
“It is a hard one because as competitors we want to play all of it and you want the kids to have all the experiences,” he said.
But having all of those experiences is going to be tough in the COVID-19 world. Most teams have had to pause their program at one point or another this year. Clemson had an 11-day pause back on Jan. 8, prior to the team getting on a bus and heading to Chapel Hill to play North Carolina the next day.
The ACC Tournament is scheduled to be played at the Greensboro Coliseum March 9-13. It was moved from Washington, D.C., back in November due to COVID concerns. Now coaches and school administrators within the conference question whether the ACC Tournament should be held this year.
New ACC Commissioner Jim Phillips officially takes over for the retired John Swofford on Monday, and perhaps this will be the first major decision he has to make as commissioner.
“That is an interesting question. I don’t the answer and I have not thought about it until about three days ago when I saw an article about it,” Brownell said. “I think we all want to play in the conference tournament because it is a great experience for the kids, although it is not going to feel like a normal tournament.
“It is going to feel different. So, what kind of great experience is it going to be? I don’t know. The competitor in you should want to play in that kind of an event.”
However, if they play in the tournament, and then someone comes down with the coronavirus, it could prevent a team or teams from playing in the NCAAs.
“I would feel awful for my players or any team that went to the conference tournament, who had already kind of done enough to get to the NCAA Tournament, and then for some reason something happens accidently at the conference tournament, you then jeopardize your NCAA Tournament (bid),” Brownell said.