Last week, the Mountain West announced it was planning for men’s and women’s basketball to proceed as scheduled. It wasn’t much of an update, but it was encouraging. Sometime back in the summer, we asked if the MWC would end up playing football this fall. To this point, that hasn’t ended up happening. This week, we will ask the question, will basketball be played in the Mountain West this year?
Yes, I believe basketball will be played in the winter. The election will be over and the politics can die down a little after that, and everyone can become more reasonable. Perhaps even California will allow students back in class. Unfortunately, for Air Force, it looks like a rebuilding year, but under new/old coach Joe Scott perhaps the Falcons can start the climb up the tall ladder of respectability in a strong Mountain West sport. The most encouraging signs since Scott’s signing were the decision by guard AJ Walker to revoke the entry into the transfer portal, and the recruitment of a talented big man from Arizona, Carter Van Hammond. Coach Scott will no doubt emphasize defense and disciplined execution of the Princeton offense. In recent years, I have not followed the Falcon basketball team closely, but I’ll be watching this year for signs of a revival.
Yes basketball will be played. It is much easier to work out the logistics of 15 players versus 100 players. The biggest question might be fan attendance. Boise State might have its best squad this year, so thank goodness.
I’d like to think that basketball will be played. How confident am I that it will? On a scale of 1-10, I’d say I’m at about a seven, right now.
The idea I’d like to see to start the non-conference season is a bubble with teams from the region. Even if we have to include some D-II schools in it as well, I think we could do that.
What about conference play? I think we can do a bubble as well if need be. The only question is where to have that bubble? Vegas? Denver? Phoenix? It would have to be a bigger city in order to accommodate even the Mountain West Conference teams, but I think it could be done.
At the end of the day, though, we shouldn’t expect there to be fans. Whether we play in a bubble, or at home arenas as usual, I highly doubt we will see fans this winter.
I’m leaning strongly towards yes. However, some obstacles still to get over before a season. Most notably, California has health guidelines in place that restrict basketball programs from having players train indoors. That’s a pretty big problem for playing basketball for San Jose State, Fresno State and San Diego State. That said, the governor of CA just green-lighted college football to resume again in the state, so basketball will likely find a way also. We now know that the NCAA will allow a shortened season to begin around Thanksgiving. All teams can now schedule 24 regular-season games. Whether the Mountain West can cobble together a revised basketball schedule that fits the correct timeline for a season is all that remains. If the Mountain West, schedules a home-and-home with every conference team that fills up 20 games. It will be interesting to see if the conference sticks with just conference games since the NCAA set 13 games against Division I teams as the minimum requirement for NCAA tournament qualification. As such, the Mountain West could have their own COVID-19 protocols in place and focus exclusively on getting through conference play with hopes of tournament play in the spring if all goes well.
Short answer yes.
Longer answer also yes. For the conferences playing football, of course they will play basketball. They have figured out what’s working and will adapt that to a different sport as closely as possible. For a conference like the MWC, will all the heat they are taking for not playing football, I would imagine they committed to play basketball at all costs (or they should anyway). Schools and the conference are bleeding money and coaches and athletic departments are not at all pleased. A conference season seems doable. A post-season tournament with bubble cities and remote learning seems doable as well.