[Athletic] - ESPN’s plans to set up an NBA-like bubble for its college basketball events in Orlando have been scuttled due to ongoing differences between the network and the participating schools regarding the health and safety protocols required for participation, The Athletic has learned. The decision impacts 10 events owned by ESPN and more than two dozen schools who were supposed to play in them, and it has thrown what was already a chaotic environment with regard to scheduling into further disarray just one month before the season is set to tip off on Nov. 25.
Goddamnit man. This is not what I want to blog. No, not one bit. Why? Because this shit could have been avoided. For the last couple of weeks there has been rumblings within the college hoops world that something like this was going to happen. There were teams dropping out, there were consistent stories of how the testing protocols were so different. And now? Now it's going to be an even bigger shitshow than we imagined.
The biggest problem with this was the setup. It was never a true bubble, which is the thing we have to discuss first. It wasn't going to be like the NBA where they got there 10 days early, quarantined and then played games and knocked it all out. It was never set up and honestly it falls on everyone here. The season was cancelled in MARCH. Ever since that date they should have been working on setting up consistency across the country for events. Whether it was saying we're not doing this and doing 4-team events on campus like we're seeing at Kentucky, Louisville, Wisconsin, etc, that should have been done MONTHS ago. This is a colossal fuck up.
There were so many games scheduled to go on in Orlando, you can't even list them all. But here are the events:
The Champions Classic is the biggest one. That's Kentucky, Duke, Kansas and Michigan State. Getting those teams to play just two games is so big for the sport. It draws eyes. It brings in the casual fan, even for a night, which is a huge win for the sport that is a niche sport until like February. We're less than a month for the season and now in full scramble mode. Now the good thing is there was a report that alliances were made between some of the teams:
Figure out what campus is willing to host these mini MTE's and get 4 teams together across the country as much as we can. It's going to be different, but they are games. That's what I want to concentrate on. That's what I'm putting positive vibes towards. I want to talk hoops. I want to argue with people about who is better and who are true title contenders. I don't want to keep blogging the shitshow that is this season. We're going to get games, it's just a matter of who is playing. I was asked this question:
Yes it's growing, but I still think it's at like 35%. Teams will scramble to play games and there are backup options. What I expect to see more of is regional games, which isn't a bad thing. Playing games where you can get in and out makes sense and always had. That's why I wish these guys realized it earlier and had it set up this summer. As for now the Maui Invitational (being played in Asheville) and the Battle 4 Atlantis (in Sioux Falls) are still scheduled to go on. Again, POSITIVE VIBES ONLY.