College basketball fans might still get to see some of the biggest fall events according to some new information from Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports. Virginia, which was expected to play in the Wooden Legacy over Thanksgiving in Anaheim, CA, may now be heading to Orlando, FL instead.
Sources: Orlando will host the following eight early season events during the first few weeks of the college basketball season.— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) September 15, 2020
Jimmy V Classic
Myrtle Beach Invitational
Diamond Head Classic
This is great news as the Wooden Legacy features Georgetown, Kansas, and UCLA alongside the Cavaliers. The Wooden Legacy event has been circled on the calendars of Virginia fans since it was announced as the Hoos have a chance to play against some storied programs. Kansas finished No. 1 in last year’s KenPom rankings, and while Georgetown (No. 67) and UCLA (No. 78) weren’t highly ranked, those are big name teams. Virginia has won seven straight November tournaments, including the Air Force Reserve Tip-Off over Arizona State in 2019 and the Battle 4 Atlantis over Wisconsin in 2018.
There are still questions around whether or not the Pac-12 will walk back its decision to start no earlier than January 1, 2021, which could have an impact on some of these events, including the Wooden Legacy. The NCAA Division I Council is expected to meet on Wednesday, September 16, to announce the start date for the 2020-21 season. Previous reports have indicated that the season will most likely begin Wednesday, November 21st.
Big events like the Maui Invitational, which is now reported to take place in either Asheville or Indianapolis, and the Battle 4 Atlantis, are also being worked with for scheduling. According to reports, Battle 4 Atlantis will take place at the Sanford Pentagon in South Dakota.
Sources: The 2020 Battle 4 Atlantis will be played at the Sanford Pentagon in South Dakota. Dates are TBD.— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) September 14, 2020
Field includes Duke, West Virginia, Memphis, Ohio State, Texas A&M, Utah, Creighton, and Wichita State.
All of these events raise some interesting questions around logistics. Unsurprisingly, all of the Orlando events are hosted by ESPN Events, making Disney World a natural fit (the Walt Disney Company owns ESPN). The NBA season resumed in Orlando in late July and will likely be the model for any NCAA events held there this fall.
Here are the teams expected for each of the events reported to be held in Orlando:
Orlando Invitational: Auburn, Belmont, Boise State, Gonzaga, Michigan State, Saint Louis, Siena and Xavier
Champion’s Classic: Duke, Michigan State, Kansas, Kentucky
NIT Preseason Tip-Off: Arizona, Cincinnati, Texas Tech, St. John’s
Jimmy V Classic: Texas Tech, Louisville, UConn, Indiana
Wooden Legacy: Virginia, Georgetown, Kansas, UCLA
Myrtle Beach Invitational: Charlotte, Dayton, Loyola-Chicago, Missouri, Nebraska, Penn, Pitt, Utah State
Charleston Classic: College of Charleston, Florida State, Houston, Oklahoma State, Penn State, Seton Hall, Tennessee and VCU
Diamond Head Invitational: Arizona State, Hawai’i, Oklahoma, Saint Mary’s, San Diego State, Seattle University, Temple, and Western Michigan
You may notice that some teams are included in a couple of these Orlando events — namely Michigan State, Texas Tech, and Kansas — and some of them are expected to participate in one of the events being held outside Orlando.
Here are the fields for Maui and the Battle 4 Atlantis:
Maui Invitational (Asheville/Indianapolis): North Carolina, Texas, Indiana, Alabama, Stanford, Providence, UNLV, and Davidson.
Battle 4 Atlantis (Sanford Pentagon, South Dakota): Duke, West Virginia, Memphis, Ohio State, Texas A&M, Utah, Creighton, and Wichita State
If teams from the other locations are also participating in events in Orlando, you could see the bubble in Florida spanning several weeks. Assuming you would need two weeks to safely quarantine between bubbles — and this is just an idea, not something based on reports — you could have a team like Duke start in Orlando with the Champion’s Classic before heading to South Dakota to play in the Battle 4 Atlantis.
A multi-week Orlando bubble could allow teams to knock out non-conference play or take advantage of opportunities for other big games. You could build a really great schedule of ranked opponents and sprinkle in some “tune-up” games over the course of three weeks in one location.
We should start to see some of these logistical questions answered as the start date and number of games (both non-conference and conference) required are announced. Virginia was also supposed to have a game against Villanova at Madison Square Garden on December 19, the future of which is still undecided.