College Basketball Season in Trouble?
The cancellations of sport in the United States began in March with basketball. While the NBA was the first to have games postponed, the first major event lost to COVID-19 was the NCAA men's and women's basketball tournaments. And the first conference tournament to go came from the Ivy League.
Unfortunately, history may be repeating itself. With the NCAA basketball season slated to start later this month and a new wave of COVID-19 cases hitting the country, the Ivy League canceled winter sports on Thursday.
Not just basketball, but all winter sports (wrestling, indoor track, fencing, swimming) for the 2020-21 school year are done at Ivy League schools. In addition, spring sports, which already lost a 2020 season, have been postponed in the conference until at least March 1.
When the Ivy League canceled its men's and women's basketball tournaments, other conferences quickly followed suit in March. The same thing happened over the summer when the Ivy League was the first to announce that fall sports were on hold.
The big question now is if other NCAA conferences will put men's and women's basketball on hold this winter. At the very least, the Ivy's withdrawal leaves another at-large bid open for the NCAA Tournaments, if we get to that point in March.
Games Postponed; Teams On Hold
Meanwhile, the first game of the NCAA basketball season to be postponed is the Miami (Fla.) season opener against Stetson. The game was scheduled for Nov. 25, but Stetson has a player with a positive test and must enter 14-day quarantine, putting that game date out of play.
In the Big East, both the Connecticut and Seton Hall men's teams are on hold with positive tests and a two-week pause. Both teams are scheduled to begin play during the November 25-28 weekend, but those games could be in doubt.
Mohegan Sun Bubbleville
The Mohegan Sun Resort and Casino in Uncasville, Conn., is planning to host 11 days of men's and women's games between Nov. 25 and Dec. 5. The event will include 40 teams playing 45 games in tournaments that have been relocated from other venues or created to replace canceled events.
The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame and the Gazelle Group, both of which host annual events, combined to create this new event. Each team will be tested upon arrival at the Mohegan Sun and have its own secured floor at the resort.
Fans will not be allowed, but so far, the men's event includes No. 2 Baylor, No. 3 Villanova, No. 4 Virginia and No. 18 Arizona State. The women's event includes No. 3 Connecticut, No. 5 Louisville and No. 6 Mississippi State.
Villanova Opens as Favorite
Oddsmakers are optimistic the season makes it to March Madness, and on the men's side, Villanova has been installed as the favorite at +700. Iowa is next at +750, with Gonzaga, Kentucky and Illinois all opening at +1000.
Baylor is +1100, with ACC powers Virginia (+1400) and Duke (+1600) slotting in just ahead of Kansas and Michigan State at +1800.