NCAA Basketball: Fans should remain (Cautiously) optimistic for 2020-21

The 2020-21 NCAA Basketball season is just days away. Yet, concern is still there regarding potential cancellations.

NCAA Basketball fans: listen.

Just listen.

There is nothing I want more than for the college basketball season to begin, as scheduled, and glide through the months of November, December, January, February, and March with minimal hiccups.

It would make me ecstatic.

For years and years and years, this is the time of the year I look forward to above all else. Thanksgiving is nearly upon us, the NFL season is heating up, Christmas is right around the corner, and college basketball season is already beginning. Of course, this year, due to COVID, we had the start date pushed back just a tad.

But still, I remained optimistic. As long as programs made it through the period of strenuous testing, we would be fine…right? Wrong.

ESPN attempted to keep up with the numerous program shut-downs: “The Coronavirus and NCAA sports: NCAA reopening plans, program cuts, more” (ESPN) went strong for a few weeks, but eventually even the “Worldwide Leader in Sports” had to wave the white flag.

Take a peek at two of the leading college basketball reporters in the country, Jeff Goodman and Jon Rothstein and you will get some information:

“NC State is in the midst of a shut-down due to positive test, a source told @Stadium. Hoping to return to practice Sunday” (Jeff Goodman, Twitter), and:

“Sources: Saint Louis is withdrawing from the Golden Window Classic in Nebraska and will instead play games at home during the first week of the season due to COVID-19” (Jon Rothstein, Twitter).

But even they, two of the most consistent voices in college hoops, are seemingly overwhelmed with the mass of (mostly negative) information we are receiving on a daily basis.

So, the question becomes, where will the positivity stem from? To be honest, I don’t have an answer. In fact, I don’t think anyone does. The bottom line, as tough as it is to admit, is that there are a lot of things that we simply cannot control.

Should we just give up, then? Absolutely not. We are going to have college basketball this year, in some capacity, and that is glorious. We should, however, prepare to run into some of the same wrinkles that huge leagues like the NFL and MLB faced.

The first league that came back, the MLB, had, “…43 total games postponed due to positive COVID-19 cases” (CBS Sports).

The NFL did a little better, but still had to cancel a few games and force the Tennessee Titans and Pittsburgh Steelers to have an earlier than expected bye week.

These leagues weren’t perfect. To be completely honest, expecting perfection in scheduling and execution in this era is simply foolish; it can’t happen. There are too many variables, too many breakouts, and too much unpredictability.

What we can expect, though, is for the NCAA Basketball season to happen (in some capacity).

We can expect Big East play.

We can expect Cinderella upsets.

We can expect Mick Cronin to pop a blood vessel screaming from his bench.

We can expect Luka Garza to average 51 and 25 (more or less).

We can expect dreams to be made.

We can expect a March Madness Tournament (hallelujah).

We can expect college hoops to return.

And it’s going to be glorious.