How Will Limited Capacity Impact March Madness Games?

March Madness Logo (Credit: Shutterstock/Al Sermeno Photography)

David Hookstead Sports And Entertainment Editor
Font Size:

Will smaller crowds at March Madness games impact the outcomes?

It’s an interesting question to debate with the start of the tournament eight days away. The NCAA has capped capacity for tournament games at 25% and all the games will be played in the state of Indiana. (RELATED: David Hookstead Is The True King In The North When It Comes To College Football)

So, what kind of impact will it have? Well, as a gambling man, I’d actually expect it to favor the underdogs a bit more than the better teams with higher seeds.

Why? Well, the answer is simple. Teams like Michigan, Iowa, Kansas, Gonzaga, Wisconsin and other powers generally travel really well. Their fan bases are huge and would pack the stadiums in a traditional tournament without coronavirus restrictions.

Now, even if the fans for a traditional power take all 25% of the capacity, the teams are still going to be playing in mostly empty stadiums.

Why does that matter? As I’ve said many times, the talent gap between great college teams and good college teams isn’t as big as you might expect. For example, look at Butler’s back-to-back title game appearances. Despite not being loaded with NBA talent, they got hot and made multiple runs.


The difference between the 25th best player in America coming out of high school and the 200th best player isn’t big at all. It exists, but it’s not huge.

So, if you take the fans away, it allows the crowd noise and intimidation factor to be eliminated, which obviously helps the underdog.

Without a crazy crowd bearing down on top of you, it’s just 10 guys on the court playing basketball.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Wisconsin Basketball (@badgermbb)

So, if I had to predict right now what will happen, prepare for a few more upsets than usual. Without fans going wild, underdogs will be able to close the gap.