Start date set, scheduling still a challenge

Setting a schedule will be a challenge this season for the UVM basketball programs.
Published: Sep. 17, 2020 at 8:41 PM EDT
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - A start date has been set for the Division One college basketball season. Still to be determined...what that season will look like for the UVM men’s and women’s basketball teams.

Wednesday night, the NCAA Division I Council announced that the men’s and women’s college basketball seasons will begin on Wednesday, November 25th. That’s about a two week delay from the originally scheduled start to the season.

Teams may begin preseason practice on October 14th and play up to 27 games. They have to play a minimum of 13 to qualify for the NCAA Tournament.

A set start date is welcome news for UVM men’s head coach John Becker and women’s head coach Alisa Kresge. Now the challenge becomes filling out that schedule.

Becker and Kresge say they still need to know what the plan is for the America East conference regular season before they can really start trying to carve out dates for non-conference games. They hope to get that information as early as next week.

Also, travel in the time of the pandemic is a challenge. Many of the colleges that would play Vermont in non-conference sit in parts of the country that would potentially require them to quarantine upon arrival or UVM teams to potentially have to quarantine when they return to Vermont.

Suffice to say, that while a start date is great news, there are a lot of questions that still need to be answered before the first shots of the season are taken.

“I think it’s going to be trick, for sure.”, says Kresge. “There’s so many layers to it, leagues have different rules going on with when their conference play will start. Geographically, how comfortable do we feel traveling? Getting on a plane right now doesn’t feel great to me, so we are looking more at bus trips. So I don’t think it’s going to be easy, but I think everybody’s eager to provide a non-conference schedule they can get them ready for conference play.”

“There’s a lot of moving parts with what other conferences are doing and have in place. Trying to get word from our conference on exactly what the start date’s going to be. Health restrictions. Where are we going to be able to go, what are we going to have to do when we return to the state? I think it’s going to be challenging to get to the full 27 (games), I just hope we have at least 13.”

Coach Becker also told Channel Three Sports that his team’s original schedule for this season only had three non-conference home games, and two of those were against Ivy League schools.

The Ivy League has yet to announced its plans for the winter sports season, but Becker said he wouldn’t be surprised if the Hoopcats ultimately did not wind up with a non-conference home game on the schedule this season.

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