It’s happening, folks. College basketball is finally here.
In what has been the longest offseason in the sport’s modern history, actual college hoops will be played Wednesday for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic shut down the past season in March.
Below are three things that you need to know for Wednesday.
UCLA-SDSU nightcap highlights opening day
It’s not a Pac-12 league game, but we’ll still count UCLA vs. San Diego State as #Pac12AfterDark. The Aztecs, coming off a 30-2 campaign, will look to retain their position among the nation’s elite while Mick Cronin will hope UCLA can carry its late-season momentum into Year 2. Both teams are Top 25 caliber and have a huge opportunity to record a signature win to open the new year.
Despite several cancellations and postponements (more on that below), Wednesday’s slate has plenty of intrigue. The Crossover Classic in Sioux Falls, S.D., will be appointment television with four quality matchups, including West Virginia vs. South Dakota State, Utah State vs. VCU, Northern Iowa vs. Western Kentucky and Memphis vs. Saint Mary’s. Also keep an eye on the great pair of Mohegan Sun battles in Arizona State vs. Rhode Island and Villanova vs. Boston College.
CDC considering shortening 14-day quarantine recommendation
The Wall Street Journal wrote Tuesday that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention may shorten its recommended self-quarantine timeline following potential exposure to COVID-19. Fourteen days is currently the suggested length, which has been implemented as a recommendation by the NCAA as well. The timeline is a major cause behind games being postponed and canceled.
CDC officials are finalizing recommendations for the new quarantine period, which is expected to be between seven and 10 days and include a negative COVID-19 test in the process. Trimming up to seven days off the recommended quarantine period could significantly increase the scheduling flexibility for teams while still maintaining health and safety for players, coaches and staffers.
Scheduling changes continue
It is time to get comfortable with daily, last-second scheduling changes. On Tuesday alone, Drexel vs. Penn State, Seton Hall vs. Baylor, Stanford vs. Utah Valley and Gardner Webb vs. Florida State were canceled while Northeastern announced no winter sports until Dec. 18 and Maine and Tennessee pulled out of their respective events. At the time of this writing, 21 games originally scheduled for Wednesday have been either postponed or canceled.
But scheduling chaos doesn’t stop there (It never does!). CBS Sports’ Matt Norlander reported late Tuesday night that No. 2 Baylor and Washington are working on a potential four-team multi-team event this weekend in Las Vegas. Norlander added that Oregon could be the third squad with the final team coming from a mid- or low-major conference. As it currently stands, Washington isn’t scheduled to open the season until Dec. 3 against Utah thanks to its Seattle-based MTE falling through while Baylor head coach Scott Drew tested positive for COVID-19 last Friday, forcing the Bears out marquee games at the Mohegan Sun.
Yesterday’s Top 25 and mid-major highlights
Nothing to see here yet! The 2020-21 college basketball season tips off Wednesday morning. Check back tomorrow for notable results.
Wednesday’s watchability index