In a move that felt inevitable, the NCAA voted to delay the start of the upcoming college basketball season from November 10th, to November 25th. The decision was based solely on allowing campuses to be free of student learning, to reduce the chances of a COVID-19 outbreak. In addition to delaying the start of the season, there won’t be any exhibition games or closed scrimmages allowed before the start of the regular season. With the start of the season being delayed, that means practice has been pushed back to October 10th, as opposed to the original starting date of September 29th. With roughly six weeks between the start of practice, and the beginning of the season, teams are allowed a maximum of 30 practice sessions.
The bigger worry with the season being pushed back, is how many games conference, and non-conference are teams going to play in 2020-21. A team can play 24 regular season games, and participate in a three day tournament. Or they can play 25 regular season contests,and compete in a two day event. Or they can simply just play 25 regular season games, with no tournaments in their schedule. For a team to be considered for championship competition, they must play a minimum of 13 games, all against D-1 opponents.
While Carolina hasn’t officially announced a non-conference slate, they are to participate in the 2020 Maui Invitational which is being either moved to Asheville or Indianapolis, and while they don’t yet have an opponent they are annual competitors in the ACC/Big 10 Challenge. Under Roy Williams, Carolina has scheduled in-state opponents to help the smaller programs financially, while also getting the team prepared for conference play. With a reduced schedule that’ll be difficult for Carolina to do, as COVID-19 continues to have an impact both on the court and off.