Houston bubble gaining momentum for college basketball nonconference games

Eli Boettger | @boettger_eli | 08/14/20


For once, a college basketball “bubble” conversation doesn’t involve bracketology.

That’s the reality of 2020, where the sports world learns to navigate around the COVID-19 pandemic. With college basketball set to start in less than three months, the sport is next up on the clock.

Houston, we have a … solution?

According to Forbes’ Adam Zagoria, Houston-based event operator Rhossi Caron has received interest from more than 70 teams regarding a December college basketball bubble. An ESPN report broke the news Thursday about a bubble proposal, which would include 20 teams split into two 10-team divisions.

It is the first known college basketball bubble proposal.

NCAA president Mark Emmert said having a bubble would be a “perfectly viable” option for several sports, including basketball.

“Starting with 64 teams is tough. Thirty-two, OK, maybe that’s a manageable number. Sixteen, certainly manageable,” Emmert said.

Carron’s proposal calls for a completely isolated bubble where teams would be tested upon arrival and every other day while in the bubble. Additionally, temperature checks would be made every day.

“The goal is to knock out your nonconference schedule between Dec. 1 and Dec. 21 and then go on Christmas break,” Carron told ESPN. “Then you come back and start conference play.”

The bubble would allow teams to compete in up to eight games prior to January.

As for conference involvement, Carron has yet to discuss the proposal with league leaders.

“I have not heard from any league officials yet,” Carron said. “Most of the schools say that they’re going to present it to the league officials to see where they stand.”

The news comes just days after a flurry of fall sports cancellations nationwide. The Big Ten and Pac-12, most notably, postponed football and are expected to attempt to resume play in the spring. The Pac-12’s postponement — as well as the Ivy League’s — includes all sports, which would remove nonconference college basketball games.


Eli Boettger is a college basketball writer and founder of HeatCheckCBB.com. He has previously worked for Sporting News, DAZN and USA TODAY SMG.

Boettger’s content has been featured by Bleacher Report, NBC Sports, FiveThirtyEight, Yahoo Sports, Athletic Director University, Washington Post, Illinois Law Review and Notre Dame Law Review, among other publications. Boettger is also a current USBWA member and Rockin’ 25 voter.