The 2020-21 college basketball season finally started on Wednesday the 25th. Originally, the season should have started on Thursday, Nov. 10. But it was pushed back because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Was it a normal opening day? Not really, but what’s normal in 2020? Like everything else in this pandemic world, it was odd and disjointed.
Cancellations, protests, quarantined players, piped-in crowd noise, masked cheerleaders, socially distanced bench seating, the Ivy League plus Bethune-Cookman canceling the entire season — the start of the season matched the chaotic build-up to it.
Some coaches even ask why we have a season at all. We can expect game cancelations, rescheduling, and maybe the suspension of entire conferences.
Take Monday, for example. In a matter of hours, Tennessee canceled two games after Coach Rick Barnes and others tested positive for the virus; Duke and Georgia quashed games against Gardner-Webb after the team reported a case. Mississippi canceled a four-team event on its campus. Utah called off its opening game after Coach Larry Krystkowiak, speaking from an apartment above his garage on a weekly radio show, reported that he had contracted the virus.
There was no Madison Square Garden doubleheader or Maui Invitational type of season kick-offs. Instead, the tub-thumping games will be in a Connecticut casino and the Dakota hinterlands.
Despite all the problems, the NCAA kicked off the college basketball season yesterday with more than 100 games.
Yesterday’s games were the first in 258 days since the 2019-20 season was canceled. What followed after that was the longest, rockiest, most dramatic offseason in college basketball history.
But that’s probably just a warm-up for things to come…..