A look inside the NCAA Tournament bubble
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — There are two storylines we’re following in this year’s NCAA Tournament—the Gonzaga Bulldogs and their chase for perfection, and the bubble.
It’s something we’ll be talking about for years, so to get a full inside look we went to the authority of the bubble.
“I have never seen anything with so many moving pieces,” longtime sports writer Mike Lopresti told us.
When the NCAA knew the entire tournament would be held in Indianapolis, they commissioned Lopresti to document every step along the way.
“It’s remarkable how much work has gone into this you, just have to watch these people work on a daily basis, where they’re working from 9 a.m. and still working at midnight, said Lopresti, “there were several times I sent a question and I get a text back at 1 or 2 in the morning.”
He was in planning meetings and the bubble itself — the biggest hurdle the NCAA had being trying to conquer something nobody understands.
“We’re dealing with something that nobody has any control [over], you can’t even see it but you know it’s there and it, quicker than anything else, could wreck your entire operation,” said Lopresti.
The lack of control goes to the top, the NCAA is not really in charge here.
“They aren’t running this tournament, it’s the medical people who are running the tournament and anything, whether it’s the county health department or their own medical advisory group, anything they said was the law,” explained Lopresti.
And all the planning in the world could be unraveled by just a few people.
“You can bring 3,000 people into the bubble and if 2,900 of them do what they are supposed to, but 100 or 50 or 1 does something wrong and goes out and brings something back with them, things could get real serious in a big hurry,” said Lopresti.
One of the biggest benefits was when minor league baseball pushed back their season, opening up the baseball field to be a haven for teams.
“There’s one team there having a kickball game and another team playing badminton it was like school recess and that became a very big outlet,” said Lopresti.
So with the finish of this tournament on the horizon coming up Monday, there might be more relief than celebration when it’s over.
“They will look back on this, I’m sure all the things that could have gone wrong, and hopefully by next Monday would not have gone wrong and they will have done it,” said Lopresti.
In just a few months they made all of this happen — 68 teams in one place, and we’re now just a few days away from wrapping things up here in Indianapolis.
The Gonzaga Bulldogs looking at UCLA, one win away from getting to the National Championship.
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