Because of the NCAA’s COVID-19 protocols, the NCAA Tournament will be a different and unique experience for everyone involved.
First off, the entire tournament will be played in the state of Indiana with the majority of the games being played near the NCAA’s home headquarters in Indianapolis. The 68 teams that were selected on Sunday for this year’s field will basically play in a bubble similar to the way the NBA ran its playoffs last fall.
Clemson was one of the 68 teams chosen for this year’s tournament. The Tigers are the No. 7 seed in the Midwest Regional and will play No. 10 Rutgers on Friday. The time, network and location will be announced at a later time.
During his Zoom press conference call with the media following Sunday’s NCAA Selection Show, Brownell revealed some of the things the Tigers will have to do in order to play on Friday.
“I don’t know a lot other than we are going to get there and I think we have to pass two tests within twelve hours,” Brownell said. “They can’t be any closer than twelve hours, I think that is what it is. So, we will get there, and test right away. Probably go into some sort of isolation in our rooms for a while, get the results back, and hopefully wake up the next day and test again early … Tuesday morning, I would hope, and get good results back, again, and then Tuesday afternoon go to practice.”
Once they arrive in Indianapolis, the Tigers (16-7) will be required to get tested almost immediately and then will be isolated to their rooms at the hotel. Brownell indicated they cannot even meet as a team until everything has been cleared on Tuesday.
“I think until you get those two tests, I think you are pretty isolated,” he said.
Clemson senior Aamir Simms says the next couple of days are going to test the Tigers’ maturity as individuals and as a team. It is going to be a nerve-racking couple of days as they wait to be cleared.
“You have to reiterate the message of how important it is to stay out of contact with people that are not within our organization,” he said. “If we are within the same proximity then just kind of keep your distance if you can.
“We can’t take it for granted. Just like that anyone’s game can be wiped out from them. That happened to us when we were in the ACC Tournament last year, when we were about to go against Florida State. So, we already know the feeling. It is still a sour feeling to this day. So hopefully, guys will remember that and will try to stay out of harms way so we can play as much basketball as we can.”
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