Facebook Twitter

How BYU players are biding their time in the NCAA Tournament bubble

As part of the NCAA’s protocol, BYU has been assigned not only a hotel, but an entire hotel floor. And the schedule is strictly regimented

SHARE How BYU players are biding their time in the NCAA Tournament bubble
20_21mBKB_NCAA_Tournament_1138.jpg

The BYU basketball team has not only been assigned a hotel while in Indianapolis for the NCAA Tournament, but an entire hotel floor. Passing the hours has required some creativity while staying safe from COVID-19.

Nate Edwards, BYU Photo

In order to ensure that the NCAA Tournament gets played this season, unlike what happened last year, the NCAA has taken drastic safety measures, including the creation of a bubble in Indianapolis and the surrounding area. 

Remarkably, No. 6 seed BYU hasn’t had any COVID-19 issues within its program during the season. 

The Cougars are hoping to keep it that way. 

As part of the NCAA’s protocol, BYU has been assigned not only a hotel, but an entire hotel floor. And the schedule is strictly regimented. 

The Cougars left Provo on Monday for Indianapolis and it has been holed up in a hotel ever since. The Cougars’ traveling party was required to have seven consecutive negative COVID-19 tests before entering the bubble. 

BYU plays its first-round game Saturday (7:40 p.m. MDT, CBS) at Hinkle Fieldhouse.

“We’re going to be quarantined in our rooms, one to a room, for probably 24 hours where you can’t even leave your room. You’re stuck there by yourself,” Pope said Sunday. “Then essentially for the next five days we’ll be in the hotel. The only time we can leave our floor is to go to practice for an hour and 50 minutes, go lift for 45 minutes and then time we have in our meeting space. These guys are going to be really quarantined. I imagine they’ll go stir crazy. We have a lot of things planned that hopefully you’ll see registering some interest on social media. I’ll tease you with that.”

How are the Cougars spending their time in the bubble?

“Getting ahead and catching up on school work, probably. We’re planning on being there for a while. Even that initial week is going to be a long time,” senior Matt Haarms said Sunday. “I think we get about two hours on the court maybe a day. Outside of that, you stay in your room. I’ve got to find a way to spend the time. We’ll see. Maybe I’ll take some suggestions. Maybe I’ll ask people on social media to give me good Netflix suggestions. Because I know I’ll have time for it.”

“First and foremost we’re going to try to stay on top of our studies. We’re going to try to play a couple of games once we get out of our quarantine the first day or day-and-a-half,” said senior Alex Barcello. “We’ll try to have some fun with it. We’ve talked about hide-and-go-seek or laser tag or Mario Kart. Whatever it is, I know we’ll have some pretty crazy ideas and we’ll have fun with it.”