According to ESPN,, Championship Week is almost upon us in full bloom, which will be followed, of course, by the NCAA Tournament coming to you in a package wrapped in various sites in the Indianapolis area.
Good stuf,f right?
Well, maybe the NCAA tournament, especially when you add the uncertainty of the COVID-19 issues appearing at various tip-offs.
Conference championship week?
Not so much.
In fact, the risk reward factor is off the charts in terms of risk.
And it has very little do with W's and L's.
Listen to what UCLA coach Mick Cronin told the Los Angeles Times when he was discussing the (right now) top-seeded Bruins trip to Las Vegas next week for the Pac-12 tournament.
""I'm just extremely concerned if you have a virus situation and it costs you in the NCAA tournament, ''' Cronin told the Times. "that's all I'm saying. "I'm not anti-conference tournament, I'm just concerned if something happens because you are traveling or you're at a hotel, it's a concern of mine.''
The risk is that if a player tests positive in the conference tournament, a quarantine of player or players could cost a team a spot in the NCAA tournament, which begins 5 days after the conclusion of the Pac-12 tournament on March 13.
UCLA is a lock for the NCAA tournament no matter what the Bruins do in Las Vegas. Cronin knows this.
He questions the judgement of playing, but will do what he can to protect his team for the bigger prize of the NCAA tournament.
""I would hate to see anybody in the whole country lose by trying to play these games, that, to me, I don't know how much they matter.''
Ironically, the prospect of playing in a conference tournament is more important in the traditionally one bid mid major conferences.
Take Bryant University, for example, which finished as the top-seed in the Northeast Conference.
Some member of the Bryant athletic department tested positive, however, which caused the cancelation of the las weekend of the regular season scheduler, a well as a suspension of the program through this week's conference tournament, which ends on Tuesday.
Without playing in the conference tournament, Bryant loses its only chance to make the NCAA tournament field.
The major conferences such as the Pac-12, Big East, SEC, and Big Ten all will be multi bid leagues whose top teams do not need to participate in conference tournament games to qualify for the NCAA tournament.
The reason the tournaments are being held is obvious.
Tournaments are televised and generate income, which has been a major casualty of all of the almost 350 schools participating in Division 1 basketball.
If that were not a factor, the odds would favor most teams simply opting to go directly from the regular season into the NCAA tournament.
That's not going to happen and the games will attempted to be played.
No matter the consequences.