No one in college basketball noticed the turn in the calendar from February to March quite like Dan Gavitt. Now in his second season as the vice president of the NCAA tournament, his whole job revolved around March Madness.
“You wake up, and here it is,” Gavitt said. “You literally count down the days. There are so many different deadlines you have to make. It’s funny when it actually gets here. You’ve been thinking about it so long.”
Gavitt said he tries to get out to see as many tournament-worthy teams as he can. That’s why he was at UD Arena on Saturday to watch the Flyers beat Massachusetts 86-79. Dayton might make the tournament. UMass is a lock.
Gavitt doesn’t have a vote when the committee meets, but he advises those who do and runs the show. He answered a few questions about the tournament and how it relates to Dayton on Saturday.
Q: If Dayton makes the tournament, could it play at home in the First Four?
A: The men’s basketball committee did talk about that and made sure they were comfortable with it. It has to do with a couple things. One is protecting the integrity of the seed list and the bracket process because if they were in that position and would have to be moved out of the First Four to accommodate not playing on their home court, then it would affect somebody else as well.
The committee thought the fairest thing to do would be to allow it to happen. On top of that, Dayton’s been an incredible host and deserves that opportunity. Through no fault of their own, hosting all these tournament games, 101 through all these years, the opening round and the First Four, it shouldn’t affect their own team.
Q: What are Dayton’s chances of continuing to host the First Four?
A: We’re going to start a new bid cycle for the preliminary rounds this spring. Bids will be due in August. We’ll award those preliminary sites for 2016-18 in November. Dayton is in the pole position. They’ve done this and done it well for so long with the great support of the community. With how well they’ve done hosting the First Four, they are going to be in a great position to continue hosting the First Four. There is interest from other communities for sure, so it’ll be a competitive process.
Q: What’s harder: picking the 68 teams for the tournament or seeding them?
A: Harder probably is the seeding process, but agonizing is the selection because you get to the end of it and the committee is very aware when you get to those last couple votes that somebody is going to be left out of the tournament. They know, because they’re ADs and commissioners, how much it means.