Yahoo Sports’ Dan Wetzel and Pete Thamel, and Sports Illustrated’s Pat Forde discuss the NCAA’s plan to start basketball on Nov. 25, whether they should push that date back, and Georgia Tech’s interesting approach to the COVID season.
DAN WETZEL: College basketball I believe is supposed to start next week. This sport doesn't seem like it's going to start, let alone finish, at least until there's a vaccine. Rick Pitino becomes the voice of reason of all things.
PETE THAMEL: Yeah, that's when you know things are sideways.
DAN WETZEL: Comes off-- Rick Pitino's like, we need to push it back and have May Madness and everyone's like, I agree with Rick Pitino. That's actually a very sage and reasonable statement there. And it's like, what the-- the sport's off its rails, Rick Pitino.
Thought that was a great idea to finish the season, but it's like, are we going to get there? So it was a happy tip off, huh?
PAT FORDE: Yeah, yeah. That's the thing, is it's just going to be-- this sport, I mean-- it's just going to be brutal trying to get started and trying to get games in. You know, if you think the football cancellations have become a little bit overwhelming, wait till basketball. First of all, there's more teams, and secondly, there's just going to be cancellations by the handful all the damn time.
The complications here are obvious. One guy tests positive and he's practicing with the other 11, guess what? You've all been contact traced, see you. Sit down for two weeks or whatever. And between that and playing games indoors, more travel, because there's more games, we'll see how it works out.
PETE THAMEL: This baffles me about college basketball when it was going on. So football is going through this just, like, tumultuous mess, right? Things are getting canceled, things are getting moved, there's contact tracing, there's games being moved around. And college basketball leaders don't sit around and say, OK, we need a streamlined, tight, shortened version to get our season in.
They say, no, no, no, no, we're going to have MTEs here, and we're going to bring 40 teams. They're like, let's have the most complicated, spread out-- they're not like, let's bus trip to here. No, no, they're going to go to, like, OK, we can't go to Maui, well, we're going to go to Asheville. And let's do the tournament in Asheville.
Well, we need data points. Like, the conversations I'm still having with college basketball coaches blow my mind. Are there going to be enough data points? You want to grab them by the collar and say, hey, knucklehead, get the tournament in. Honestly, you know, instead of, like, you know, the first four out, you know, they always have that. They're going to have to have the first four ready to come in to the tournament bracket.
PAT FORDE: Oh, right.
PETE THAMEL: They're going to have right on the border, right in Louisville, right?
DAN WETZEL: You're not out yet, you're not out yet.
PETE THAMEL: Basically, somewhere, like, in a Courtyard Marriott on the Indiana border, like, storm the team in. All right, get to Mackey Arena for a 1:30 tip. You're playing Michigan State. Like, that's what this is going to be. This is a free-for-all, it's a mess.
Like, I don't care what your KenPom is, just get 15 conference games, play the tournament, wait for the vaccine, try harder next season. I'm fine with ambition, and I want as much college-- I would watch so much college basketball on TV right now. Oh my god, I'd watch-- I'd watch six games at night. I would love to have it.
But, like, don't schedule yourself into oblivion in the middle of a pandemic so you have, like, comparable data points. Like, people are still talking about NCAA turn out metrics. It's like, no, get on the court, let the committee figure it out, get to Monday night, cut the nets, and just, like, hide for three months.
DAN WETZEL: All right, so this is my pick to win the National Championship this year. Georgia Tech is going to win the National Championship this year. And I am going to tell you why, because exactly what Pete was talking about, Josh Pastner, the coach that Georgia Tech is listening to, he is giving up, basically, on trying to run a regular season.
They will have no practices because of the contact tracing. They will have individual workouts, and that's it. And he's just basically like, it's more important to have a team than be any good. If you show up, just show up. So it's like, nope, we don't practice. He's the opposite. He said Allen Iverson should sign them.
Get AI out of retirement. You know have to practice, this is the greatest team to ever play for. Everybody hates practice. Bob Knight's head would blow off his body if it-- can't practice, what? Only play games. So I got Georgia Tech winning it all. I don't know about you guys.