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Ballin’ in a Bubble? It Could Happen.

Speculation abounds regarding who, when, where, and how.

Re-opening Continues Across Densely Populated New York And New Jersey Areas Photo by John Lamparski/Getty Images

Today is right around the time when your Georgetown Hoyas would typically (...finally, after all of the other BIG EAST teams had done so...) release their schedule.

This year, the entirety of the NCAA hoops environment is still in limbo. The vote on a season start date is slated for next week and whichever day they ultimately choose, there are still myriad logistical questions to address.

This summer, other sports leagues tried different approaches to resuming play, with varying degrees of success. The NBA went all-in on an isolated environment in at the ESPN Wide World of Sports in resort-filled Orlando, which worked. The NHL decided that geography plays an important factor in public health safety & risk, and moved the whole operation to Canada, which also worked. MLB started off by telling its players to behave, which is laughably naive and — needless to say — did not work.

College basketball, and certain early-season tipoff tourney organizers in particular, are looking to the bubble strategy as a viable way to get teams back on the court. CBS Sports and other outlets are reporting on a possible 35-team setup that would combine multiple non-con events into a single, contained environment:

The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, which annually puts on multi-team college basketball events, has sent a detailed pitch to numerous NCAA stakeholders and college basketball programs about how it plans to host at least 32 games for at least 16 teams in a bubble from Dec. 9-20, according to confidential documents obtained by CBS Sports.

Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, Connecticut, is where the still-unnamed event would take place. The Basketball Hall of Fame, based in nearby Springfield, Massachusetts, has played its Tip-Off tournament at the resort and casino since 2011.

The Hall of Fame would operate the event with substantial assistance from Mohegan Sun. Frequent COVID-19 testing would be provided by Connecticut-based Hartford Healthcare. In addition to the two events run by the Hall of Fame — the Tip-Off Tournament and the Hall of Fame Invitational — sources told CBS Sports the Empire Classic, the Gotham Classic and the Legends Classic are also under consideration to move from their planned New York City-area tournaments.

If this proposed event were to occur, BIG EAST members Villanova, Marquette, and (I guess they count again now?) UCONN would all be participating. There has been no word on the Wooden Legacy tournament, where Georgetown was slated to join UCLA, UVA, and Kansas during Thanksgiving week. Conference ADs have been throwing around the idea of a BIG EAST bubble during their monthly calls, with IMG Academy (Florida) and Omaha, NE proposed as potential locations, but it is all speculation at this juncture.

Dan Gavitt has sworn up & down that March Madness 2021 will happen, and the NCAA trademarked “Battle in the Bubble,” presumably in preparation for the environment in which that tournament is likely to occur.

All we can do is wait. Hoya Saxa.