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Dan Gavitt begins as NCAA's new tourney chief

Wednesday - 3/20/2013, 9:00pm  ET

MICHAEL MAROT
AP Sports Writer

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- Dan Gavitt spent the last nine months preparing for his own private version of March madness -- weather concerns, damaged buildings, blackouts, even terrorist threats.

He's ready for just about contingency over the next three weeks.

While college basketball fans tune in to the NCAA tournament, Gavitt will be working hard behind the scenes to avoid all the potholes, pitfalls and pressure that come on the road to the Final Four --- and not just for the 64 remaining teams that open second-round play Thursday or Friday.

"I'm excited, I'm anxious, I think both at the same time," Gavitt told The Associated Press as he prepares to run his first NCAA tourney. "I was growing up around the game of college basketball literally my whole life, but I also feel like I have an awesome sense of responsibility to manage this event the way it's been managed the last 74 years."

Gavitt has been a regular face in college basketball crowd for years.

He started attending Final Fours in the late 1970s, watched the tourney become one of the world's sporting biggest events while his father, Dave, was running the Big East Conference and eventually wound up as a Big East executive, too, before taking the NCAA job in June.

Now he has a longer title, NCAA executive vice president for men's basketball championships, a new boss and an entirely different perspective on the NCAA's marquee event. He took over from Greg Shaheen, the longtime head of the tourney who resigned his post last spring.

Instead of contemplating pairings and predictions or following schools from his conference, Gavitt will spend his time constantly on the go.

Last weekend, he was locked inside an Indianapolis hotel room with selection committee members. On Monday morning, he made the 2
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