It was brutal for the sport of college basketball to see the 2020 NCAA Tournament canceled. Everyone is hoping next year will be different.
However, in order to have an NCAA Tournament in 2021, those in charge might have to get a little creative. With COVID-19 still a major factor, we don’t know what the college basketball regular season will look like, let alone the postseason.
This is where the “bubble” concept comes in. It has worked well for the NBA, WNBA, NHL and others. Keeping players in a sealed environment with regular COVID testing and stringent health protocols works.
Is that possible with college basketball? Well, given the ongoing NIL discussion, it might be tough to pull off under the umbrella of amateurism. However, coaches like Kentucky’s John Calipari think its an idea worth looking into.
On ESPN Radio with Clinton Yates and Elle Duncan, Calipari said he thinks its definitely possible to play the NCAA Tournament in a bubble.
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
For what it’s worth, NCAA President Mark Emmert endorsed the possibility of using a “bubble” down the road for NCAA competition.
“When we look at it, if we modify the model, shrink the bracket sizes, do everything in predetermined sites instead of running kids around the country, move towards bubbles or semi-bubble models in volley, let’s say, or soccer, there’s a way to do it,” Emmert said on Thursday, via CBS Sports’ Kyle Boone. “Will it be normal? Of course not. . . . But is it doable? Yes.”
An NCAA Tournament in a bubble setting could be pretty fun. Anything beats a March with no Madness like we had this year.