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Wisconsin basketball: Division 1 Council set to vote Wednesday on season start date

There will also be discussions on mandatory testing and the number of non-conference games a team will play

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: MAR 11 Big Ten Tournament - Michigan v Rutgers Photo by Jeffrey Brown/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

With all the talk around the Twitter water cooler currently focused on the potential return of Big Ten football this fall it is easy to forget that basketball season was supposed to be starting in just under two months. The Wisconsin Badgers are defending B1G champions on the men’s side and a hungry, young team looking to end a tournament drought on the women’s side. It was going to be an exciting year at the Kohl Center, in other words.

You may have noticed, however, that things in 2020 haven’t really been going according to plan and the start of the 2020-21 college basketball season is no different. But the powers that be in the college basketball world have been working hard behind the scenes to try and figure out an alternative start date for college hoops and on Wednesday, September 16th the Division 1 Council will vote on that date.

The original start date for the season was November 10th, so the 21st isn’t a huge change in plans, although you may have recently seen announcements from non-conference tournaments about venue changes from the tropical to the, uh, not so tropical to make it easier for them to be played.

CBS Sports’ Matt Norlander notes: “The two-hour meeting focused in large part around upping the start date to accommodate multi-team events (MTEs), which had been a driving force the past week-plus for reconsidering Nov. 25, a date oversight committees agreed to during their Sept. 1 meeting.”

The women’s and men’s basketball oversight committees also discussed maximum and minimum games thresholds for the season which were a maximum of 28 (if the team played an MTE) or 26 otherwise and 13 on the low end of things, although those 13 games must all be against Division 1 competition according to Norlander’s source. With non-conference games being canceled in many football conferences, basketball still wants a bit of normalcy, according to Norlander:

The committees also will make a recommendation — but not an outright requirement — that teams play at least four nonconference games if circumstances reasonably allow for it. This was not a universally agreed to recommendation, but will be part of the proposal nonetheless. The thinking behind this is to encourage every league to seek to play nonconference games in an effort to help with college basketball’s metrics and eventual NCAA Tournament selection.

As far as COVID-19 testing goes, the committee recommended “at least three times a week.”