Sneak Peak into March Madness Bubble


Manningmbd, CC BY-SA 3.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

Lucas Oil Stadium, where many of the 2021 March Madness games were played, is the spot where Jalen Suggs hit his infamous buzzer beater.

“Suggs for the win…Ohhhhhh! Oh yes! Unbelievable!” Those words filled the houses of many Americans as they watched Jalen Suggs and Gonzaga beat UCLA in the Final Four of this year’s March Madness. Even if your team was out, or you had a busted bracket, you were still happy to see basketball played in March for the first time in two years.

The global pandemic, COVID-19, shut down the world, including the world of basketball. It almost shut down this tournament again, but players and coaches had to isolate for many days alone in a hotel room in order to stay safe and bring fans the game we all love. Read on to see how they did it.

Every year in March, 68 college basketball teams compete in a month-long tournament in order to crown the best team. Unfortunately, due to the covid-19 shutdown, the tournament was canceled in 2020. This year, the tournament committee and managers took extreme measures to ensure that this tournament would go on with no mistakes. Other than one game cancellation in the first round, due to the VCU basketball team against Oregon, this tournament went pretty smoothly.

Of course, it couldn’t have gone smoothly without a lot of planning, safety measures, and teams being very serious about the virus. WDIV News 4 in Detroit covered the changes showing the dedication the tournament committee made to keep players safe and able to play basketball.

“Even though West, East, Midwest, and South region brackets were announced, don’t let that fool you,” they reported.

The whole tournament was based in Indiana, including the six venues where the teams played (Mackey Arena, Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall, Lucas Oil Stadium, Hinkles Fieldhouse, and Indianas Farmers Coliseum).

Each team will stay at one of the four hotels in downtown Indianapolis that are connected to the convention center by skywalk. Each team got their own floor of one of the hotels, and the players and coaches all got one room. After the 3-day quarantine, each player was given tracking devices for contact tracing. Teams were allowed to only eat with their own team in big conference rooms and practice by themselves in one of the convention center’s courts, according to The Washington Post.

The concept of being stuck in the same hotel room for three days leaves 7th grader Bryce B. feeling claustrophobic.
“So if I were trapped in a hotel room, I would find some extra food from the cafeteria, and I would try and make a plan to get out. I would also try to call for help, but if I couldn’t get out, I’d just waste time by sleeping, playing video games, and playing some floor hockey for fun.”

If he could only bring five items, Bryce said he would bring extra food, a hockey stick, a hockey ball/puck, a skateboard, and his Xbox.

Bryce’s reaction shows the dedication these players and coaches showed when they were forced to stare at four walls for three days.