Having no March Madness in 2020 was simply brutal. It was the biggest domino to fall this past spring just as the coronavirus started to show its teeth in the United States.
The Big Ten, PAC 12 and other conferences around the country have scrapped college football and other fall sports for the year, which isn’t the best sign for college basketball, but college hoops, specifically the NCAA Tournament, has a couple of factors to its advantage.
One of those things is time and the other is the idea, and real possibility, that the NCAA Tournament could be held inside a bubble. Kentucky head coach John Calipari is on board with the idea as he explained on ESPN’s ‘The Intersection” on Thursday.
John Calipari on @ESPNRadio tonight's The Intersection with @clintonyates and @elleduncanESPN: "We can play the NCAA tournament in a bubble. Instead of it being weeks on weeks long, maybe it’s short. You lose, you’re out of the bubble. You go home."
— Myron Medcalf (@MedcalfByESPN) August 14, 2020
Calipari’s belief and confirmation that the NCAA Tournament could be held in a bubble comes shortly after the NCAA V.P. of Basketball Dan Gavitt told Andy Katz that “we are going to have a tournament.”
“We are going to have a tournament,” Gavitt said. “It’s going to be special. We have our preferences about how we’d like to have it be, but if we have to adjust to the virus, which we don’t control, we will adjust accordingly. The health and safety of the players and the coaches and all the people around the games — the referees and fans — will be primary. But ultimately it will also include determining a national champion in the fairest and most equitable way that we can under these unusual circumstances. I think it’s important to note: We’re gonna have all sorts of contingencies and plans if it’s necessitated. We’re just not in the position to be able to talk about those in the middle of August, because that’s not what our primary goal is.”
You have to tip your cap to the leadership in college hoops to be looking ahead and planning next year’s NCAA Tournament. They already have a blueprint bubble from the NBA and while the tournament will likely look different than year’s past, having a tournament is much better than not having one.