MONTVILLE, Conn. — College hoops fans are extra thankful that with may unknowns we now know for sure that NCAA basketball games will begin the day before Thanksgiving.
The NCAA announced new details on Wednesday about the upcoming college basketball season. There will be no scrimmages or exhibition games this year and official games will begin a few weeks later than normal. The season is set to begin on November 25.
This decision to postpone the start of the season means we will see a big increase in games here in Connecticut as Mohegan Sun is being considered as a “bubble site” for several large tournaments.
A big chunk of those games likely to be played right here at Mohegan Sun. With two tournaments already on the books, Mohegan is uniquely prepared to host others who need a safe place to play this season.
“We are uniquely qualified to host a bubble site for college basketball because a lot of the legwork is already done," said David Martinelli, Chief Marketing Officer for Mohegan Sun. "We think a lot of people are going to be scrambling once the rules come down but we're already in pretty good shape from that standpoint."
Mohegan Sun has the Hall of Fame Invitational and the Tip-off Tournament scheduled for their venue but Mohegan will also likely pick up three major New York City tournaments that are looking for a new home.
“It's really not feasible for them to play in a bubble in New York," said Martinelli. "Nothing is near the arenas and the arenas cost way more to open. They haven't been open and probably aren't going to open anytime soon."
Dozens of schools have also reached out to Mohegan about the opportunity to use their hotel, arena, and practice facilities later in the year. Mohegan has already successfully hosted mini bubbles for MMA and boxing over the summer so they are ready to go.
Now it is just a waiting game as individual conferences try to coordinate their game schedules on short notice.
“I don't think any of us know what the exact format will be, or at least I don't know what it will be," said UConn men's basketball coach Dan Hurley. "I just think we're all very excited."
As of September 17, fan attendance is not being considered. Organizers say they are open to the idea and will wait as long as they can to make a final decision on fan attendance for future games in Uncasville.