With the basic framework for the 2020-21 college basketball season now (sort of) in place, the primary task for programs across the country is how to fill their newly allotted number of non-conference games before the Nov. 25 start of the campaign.
The most commonly tossed around idea has been a bunch of bubbles — like the ones successfully utilized by both the NBA and the NHL to wrap up their seasons — where a number of teams hole up, play a handful of round-robin games over the course of a couple of weeks, and then move on with their seasons.
According to this tweet from Chris Mack, it appears that making one of those bubbles happen in Louisville is now in the works.
Hey D1’s – Get Your Games Here
Louisville Non Conference Bubble
Nov 25-Dec 5
3-5 games per team
Medical Protocols ✔️
Spots filling fast.
— Chris Mack (@CoachChrisMack)September 18, 2020
You put DePaul in this bubble and I will instantly pass out. I will pass out hard.
The more likely outcome is that you see a number of schools — high major, mid major and low major — from this area of the country tossed in the bubble. If Louisville’s previously scheduled trip to Las Vegas winds up being canceled (which seems likely), you could also see a school like Arkansas added so they could make up for those lost games. Colorado State and San Francisco could also receive invites, but travel would likely be a concern there.
Mack was asked about non-conference scheduling on Thursday and added that Bellarmine, which is playing in its first season as a Division-I member, could be tossed onto a schedule that previously did not include the Knights.
“We’ve been talking to several teams geographically, that are close to Louisville that could make sense of what a non-conference schedule would look,” Mack said. “Bellarmine is certainly one of those schools.”
One school that I would definitely expect to be in the bubble is Cincinnati. The Cards and Bearcats had been set to renew their rivalry on Nov. 13, a date which now falls 12 days before the new beginning of the season. Mack and John Brannen are very close, so getting both UC and Brannen’s old program, Northern Kentucky, into the bubble seem like very realistic possibilities.
A big time college basketball event in Louisville this winter. Even though the circumstances aren’t ideal, this could still be pretty cool.