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NC State basketball could be headed to a bubble for non-conference games in December

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NCAA Basketball: Pittsburgh at N.C. State Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

Last week, The Athletic reported that college basketball officials were planning on creating bubble environments for early-season tournament events, which would make more sense grouped together in places rather than being played independently.

On Tuesday, CBS Sports’ Matt Norlander reported on detailed plans for an event at the Mohegan Sun resort in Connecticut tentatively scheduled for mid-December. At least 16 teams would be brought into this particular bubble, drawn from the pool of schools participating in a half dozen early-season events:

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 significant consideration to move their New York City-area tournaments up to Uncasville.

NC State is slated to play in the Empire Classic with Villanova, Baylor, and Michigan. It sounds as though there will be some scheduling flexibility for the teams that are invited into this bubble—it probably wouldn’t be a straight 16-team single-elimination tournament, for example. Anybody who goes through the trouble of making the trip is going to want multiple games.

Next week, the NCAA is expected to make a decision on the official start date of the season (which will likely be around Thanksgiving), and after that we should start seeing more concrete developments around events like the one proposed for Mohegan Sun. Don’t be surprised if NC State is involved.