All 68 teams that punched their tickets to the 2021 NCAA Tournament have made their way to Indiana this week to tip-off March Madness. Each team will be designated to their floors at various hotels in and around Indianapolis with players and staff each getting their own room.
The NCAA is creating its own bubble for the tournament much like the NBA did at Disney World and as expected, pictures of food and complaints about living conditions have already started to make the rounds on social media.
Just got a text from a head coach in the East Region.
“Supposed to be fish.” pic.twitter.com/lZerv8iWUm
— Matt Norlander (@MattNorlander) March 15, 2021
Getting some early reports from informants regarding the food situation inside the NCAA Tournament’s controlled environment. pic.twitter.com/v4ylZfwOZ8
— Matt Norlander (@MattNorlander) March 14, 2021
Are there better food options out there? Yes. Could the food be much, much worse? Oh, hell yes.
Here’s the thing, the majority of Power Five programs are essentially used to four-star caliber meals both on campus and while on the road. The Kansas’, Texas’, and Michigan’s of the world aren’t used to opening their hotel room door and picking up a tray of fish off the floor for dinner. On the flip side, some of the mid-major teams are probably accustomed to this sort of thing. Their players are used to eating inside the student union on campus instead of going to the team facility and having their pick at a spread that mirrors a high-end Las Vegas buffet.
ESPN’s Jordan Cornette shared that one coach inside the bubble said that the conditions are so tough that he’s actually worried that some kids may want to lose just so they can go home. This is how unbelievably soft some of these student-athletes are.
As told to me by a coach inside the NCAA tourney bubble in Indy….
“Conditions are tough. Can’t leave our hotel floor, food is cold, it’s very challenging. I just hope it’s not so bad for these kids that they want to lose so they can go home”
Tough to hear.
— jordan cornette (@jordancornette) March 16, 2021
Some of these student-athletes have gotten so used to being waited on hand and foot that they can’t hack it inside a hotel room? Also, teams have only been in Indianapolis for a few days now, what’s it going to be like in a week? There are certainly worse quarantine setups than having free food, probably your own king-size bed, your own TV, and your own bathroom without a roommate. Plus, we’re not talking about random two-star hotels spread around Indy, most teams are staying at Marriott properties.
Sure, being isolated probably gets boring pretty quickly, but what’s the difference between playing video games or binging Netflix in your own hotel room than your own dorm room or apartment?
You can go ahead and guarantee that at least one of the top teams that gets upset early in the tournament will hint that the loss was due to the living conditions.
Somebody needs to remind these teams about the conditions some hade to endure during the Sochi Olympics:
— Simon Stanleigh 🇬🇧🇩🇪 (@Stanleigh77) February 2, 2014
— Bonnie D. Ford (@Bonnie_D_Ford) February 4, 2014
— Stacy St. Clair (@StacyStClair) February 4, 2014
People have asked me what surprised me the most here in Sochi. It's this. Without question … it's … THIS. pic.twitter.com/1jj05FNdCP
— Greg Wyshynski (@wyshynski) February 4, 2014