Pending a vote by the D-I Council on Sept. 16, the official start of the 2020-21 college basketball season is expected to be pushed back a couple of weeks. Per Matt Norlander of CBS Sports, the oversight committees for men’s and women’s hoops agreed this week to recommend a Nov. 25 start date.
That seems like the best compromise between the various options that officials have been considering. It also sounds like the Pac-12 is going to reverse its decision to prohibit competition in all sports until Jan. 1. They are going to want to be a full participant in basketball season after canceling fall football, and they are the only league to push through a blanket cancellation of all sports until the new year.
A Nov. 25 start would force several preseason events to find new plans moving forward. The Empire Classic, in which NC State is playing with Villanova, Baylor, and Michigan, is scheduled for Nov. 19-20, for example.
As Seth Davis and Dana O’Neil report here, lots of those events can be bundled together, and officials are looking at moving them to neutral-site bubbles. ESPN/Disney owns 10 preseason events and it’d be a natural fit to move them into the Disney World bubble site where the NBA playoffs are being played.
The Gazelle Group owns the Empire Classic and several others, and here is what we might see from them:
They are going to invite several teams to come to Mohegan Sun, the casino resort in Uncasville, Conn., during a two-week window in December. Not only would those teams have the chance to play games already scheduled, but they also would be given the opportunity to cross-pollinate with the other events and pick up additional opponents.
So NC State might not only have the chance to play games against Baylor, Villanova, and Michigan but also participants in other Gazelle Group events. Some of the schools slated for those other events: UConn, USC, Vanderbilt, LSU, Kentucky, and Maryland.
It’ll be interesting to see what that looks like, and just how many teams will be involved, if it comes together. Bringing teams together and allowing them to add games is a great idea for alleviating some of the non-conference scheduling headaches that lie ahead.