With the NCAA deciding Thursday to cancel this year’s NCAA Tournament due to the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) and bring March Madness to an abrupt end before it even started, many fans were left pondering the same question: “Who is this year’s national champion?”
There’s no real precedent for determining a national champion in basketball without a tournament. The only NCAA sport that has done it is football, which used to rely on polls to determine the best team every season.
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If the NCAA does name a champion this year, then there’s one clear favorite: Kansas. The Jayhawks finished the season 28-3 and 17-1 in conference play on their way to a Big 12 championship. They likely would have been the No. 1 overall seed had the NCAA Tournament not been canceled.
But don’t go celebrating your national championship just yet, KU fans. Plenty of other fan bases took to Twitter to stake their claims to the title.
Gonzaga had a better record (31-2) and was ranked No. 1 in the NCAA NET rankings. Do the Bulldogs have a better claim?
And what about Dayton? The Flyers, led by potential National Player of the Year Obi Toppin, went 29-2 and were a shoe-in for a No. 1 seed.
Washington State fans argued they should be the champs, considering the Cougars won the last game of the college basketball season, beating Colorado 82-68 in the Pac-12 Tournament. Winning the last game of the season is the goal for every team, and Washington State is the only team that can say it accomplished that.
Quickly seeing that fans were trying to claim national championships, Iowa center Ryan Kriener became the first player to call dibs on the title.
This Mississippi State fan account decided to be sneaky and declare the Bulldogs as national champs both in men’s AND women’s basketball. Nice call.
Iowa State might dispute that claim to the women’s title as the Cyclones took down defending national champ Baylor 57-56 in the last game of the regular season.
If Twitter were to decide the national champion every year, we’d all be undisputed winners.
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