The NCAA delayed the start of basketball season due to concerns with the ongoing pandemic, but tipoff week is finally here and anticipation is high for Virginia and its fans. The Cavaliers enter the season ranked No. 4 in The Associated Press preseason poll and as the media favorite to win the ACC regular season race. Before the season starts, however, there are questions to consider for the Wahoos.
Let’s take a look at the annual 10 preseason questions for Tony Bennett’s team. Part I is below. For Part II, click here.
10. What does the season look like during a pandemic?
You can’t really discuss anything in 2020 without considering COVID-19 and its potential influence. That’s especially true with sports. College basketball season came to a screeching halt in March as the coronavirus outbreak started to surge in America and leagues have dealt with attendance restrictions, postponements, and cancellations since returning to play. Through late November, most fall sports have figured out ways to shuffle schedules and keep many games intact somewhere on the calendar.
Basketball, held in indoor venues, figures to face similar challenges but season maintenance may be even more daunting. The rosters are smaller, most of the players and coaches have direct interaction, and protocols for contact tracing and quarantine could keep entire teams from being available for a game vs. a football team playing with 10 or more athletes out. Plus, the schedule features more than double the amount of games even with the NCAA cutting it back to 26 or 27 contests this season. Basketball teams usually play two to three games per week so any issues could lead to four to six games needing to be moved or cancelled vs. just two to three for a football team over the same amount of time.
Unfortunately, Virginia already has experienced this first hand and the season hasn’t even started yet. The Cavaliers agreed to play two games at the Mohegan Sun as part of a “Bubbleville” concept and their season is scheduled to begin there later this week. Florida, UVA’s Friday opponent, withdrew from the event,...
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