College basketball is right around the corner and the top teams in the country are looking to redeem themselves after the season abruptly ended before the March Madness tournament could even begin. Although the new season is ahead of them, new restrictions due to COVID-19 will make this season very different from previous seasons and some questions are raised.
Despite how different this season will be, the season has only been postponed by about a week and a half late. The Division I Council decided to let teams start to play by November 25th at the earliest. The Big 12 and PAC 12 conferences have both released schedules for this new season. The Big 12 is said that the first game is scheduled for December 6th which has the Oklahoma Sooners playing against the TCU Horned Frogs. The PAC 12’s latest schedule has the Colorado Buffaloes facing off against the Arizona Wildcats. While other DI conferences have yet to create a schedule, the Division I council will only be allowed to play at a max of 27 and a minimum of 13 games versus the normal 35 to 40. Schedules, however, will not be the only things that have been altered this season. The Division I council has limited practice times and have completely gotten rid of exhibitions and scrimmages. All practices and player meetings have been limited to a collective 12 hours a week and players are given 2 days a week off.
With all of these factors taken into consideration, it may be hard to tell who will be a legit contender for the national championship. Although these factors will take a toll on the NCAA, professionals have somewhat of an idea of who may come out on top. One of these teams is Baylor, who were also contenders the previous season before it was halted. Although it is a new season, Baylor has maintained most of their big names as well as their smaller ones and also recruited some high school players that may prove to play a good role on this contending team. The other team may also prove to stand as a tough opponent for the championship. The Gonzaga Bulldogs were also competitors for the title last season and are also no pushover for the up and coming season. They have an almost completely new team but have recruited well in the off season to make sure their team would come out on top this year.
Although COVID-19 is a large obstacle for the NCAA, they plan to approach it cautiously in an attempt to bring entertainment back into college sports fan’s lives.