The Mohegan Sun Arena in Connecticut is reportedly preparing to host a number of early-season college basketball tournaments in a “bubble” format. More than 30 teams are in the plans for the various events, which include both men’s and women’s programs. It is yet to be determined whether or not fans will be allowed to attend any of the events at the arena, which has a capacity of approximately 10,000 and is located on tribal land in eastern Connecticut.
“It’s a single site, secluded location, with enormous square footage for social distancing,” said Greg Procino, vice president of basketball operations for the Hall of Fame. “There are a lot of things that will work in our favor. ”
While plans have yet to be finalized, the “Bubbleville” calendar will run from November 25 to December 5 and feature teams from multiple conferences. Villanova, Baylor, Arizona State and Boston College are all signed on for the Empire Classic event, which is expected to kick off the events. UConn, USC, Virginia, Florida, St. John’s, UMass, Vanderbilt, BYU, Louisville, North Carolina State and others are also expected to participate in events at the venue.
“We’ve been able to combine and leverage both our organizations and strengths to create something bigger than what we originally had,” said Rick Giles, president of the Gazelle Group. “I don’t know if either organization individually could have pulled off what we’re about to do next month.”
Teams participating in the event will be tested upon arrival and then have their own floor in the hotel tower at the Mohegan Sun resort. Practices will be held at the exposition center of the resort, allowing for players and teams to move freely between their rooms and the practice and game spaces without encountering other resort guests or casino patrons.
While no ticket sales are planned at the moment, that could change if coronavirus metrics show it to be safe to allow fans into the arena. Connecticut has seen an uptick in COVID case rates following a largely quiet summer compared to many other states, but still has a positivity rate below the national average.
Photo: Connecticut Sun game at Mohegan Sun Arena in 2011. Via Wikimedia Commons