NCAA

Why we might see college basketball played in an NBA type bubble

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The NBA has been confined to what has become known as the NBA Bubble in Orlando for more than two months and the experiment has been a great success. 

The league continues to monitor its players, limit outsiders from entering the bubble, and quickly jumps to action should any potential cases of COVID-19 arrive. The results have produced a COVID-19 free stretch of basketball.

The NBA isn't the only league to find success in a bubble. The WNBA, NWSL, NHL, and MLS have all played in and thrived in a controlled bubble environment. 

The success of these leagues has people around the NCAA wondering if they can pull off the same thing. 

The NCAA has looked into the possibility of creating a variation of the bubble all its own. 

According to Matt Norlander of CBS, the NCAA may try to partner with Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, Connecticut to create a bubble and host a tournament with at least 16 teams. 

The Naismith Hall of Fame puts on an annual event at the Mohegan Sun and has sent a "detailed pitch to numerous NCAA stakeholders and college basketball programs."

According to the reports, the Hall of Fame would operate the event and frequent COVID-19 testing would be provided by Hartford Healthcare. 

Other tournaments such as the Gotham Classic and the Legends Classics could also leave their home of New York City to move to the Mohegan Sun.

 

Norlander added that "A hybrid scheduling model has been under consideration that would allow teams a different number of games based on their scheduling desires and how long they might be able to stay at Mohegan Sun. This method was described as "a la carte" with the understanding at this stage that more than 16 teams would head to the Mohegan Sun bubble if non-conference play is allowable come December."

But the potential of a Mohegan Sun bubble isn't the only change to the NCAA season that some are looking for. 

According to reports, the ACC has come together as a league and is proposing an expanded 2021 NCAA Tournament  that would feature every single Division I team. All 357 of them.    Said Duke head coach Mike Kryzewski, "This is not a regular season... It is clearly an irregular season that will require something different. Our sport needs to be agile and creative."

However, NCAA senior vice president of basketball Dan Gavitt said on Thursday that the organization is not considering a "contingency plan" to expand the tournament at this time. 

A 357 team tournament would be unprecedented. A smaller bubble at the Mohegan Sun would be unprecedented. But, COVID-19 is unprecedented.

With the sports world facing a battle the likes of which it has never seen, literally, no idea is off the table.