BYU Basketball Settles Into NCAA Tournament Bubble Life

Mar 15, 2021, 11:22 PM | Updated: 11:25 pm
BYU Basketball - NCAA Tournament 2021...
BYU Basketball arrived in Indianapolis for the 2021 NCAA Tournament on Monday, March 15th. (BYU Photo/Jaren Wilkey)
(BYU Photo/Jaren Wilkey)

INDIANAPOLIS, Indiana – BYU basketball arrived in Indianapolis less than 24 hours after hearing they would be a 6-seed in the historic 2021 NCAA Tournament.

The Cougars rolled into the Circle City around 1:55 p.m. (MT)/3:55 p.m. (ET) on Monday. A police escort then transported them to their team hotel near Lucas Oil Stadium, home of the NFL’s Indianapolis Colts. Where they now settle in and look to avoid any negative COVID-19 tests between now and Saturday evening.

The NCAA requires all Tier 1 individuals (team travel party and officials) to have seven negative COVID-19 tests before playing in March Madness.

What BYU Basketball will do in NCAA Tournament Bubble

Getting into the bubble was Mark Pope’s greatest sense of urgency immediately after getting official word his program was back in the Big Dance for the first time since 2015. From there, it’s about finding a way to pass the time till hoops.

“These 18, 19, 20, and 21 year-olds are going to be quarantined in our rooms for 24 hours where you can’t even leave your room. You’re stuck in your room by yourself,” said BYU coach Mark Pope. “Then, especially for the next five days, we’re going to be in the hotel. The only time we can leave our floor is to go to practice for an hour and fifteen minutes. Then go to a lift for 45 minutes, and then the time we have in our meeting space. So these guys are gonna be really, really quarantined. I imagine they’ll get a little stir crazy.”

The Big Dance Swag Box

Once in the team hotel, BYU was welcomed with a swag box that featured “The Big Dance” apparel that included a hat, flag, blanket, string backpack, socks, keychains, pillowcases, and more. The NCAA’s hospitality team also provided deodorant, hand sanitizer, Lysol wipes, and basic hygiene essentials.

The box included a copy of the late great Georgetown head coach John Thompson’s book “I Came As A Shadow.” So if players want to spend their team reading, they have a great book to pull from now.

Speaking of books, senior leaders Alex Barcello and Matt Haarms pointed to this time in Indianapolis as an opportunity to “hit the books” and stay on top of grades and their academics. BYU, unlike most schools this time of the year, doesn’t have a spring break. Well, they get one day (Friday, March 19th). Better than nothing, right? So while juggling a “One Shining Moment” opportunity, the players will utilize the time to continue their studies.

Pope promised his team would create some fun activities and content to keep things interesting while the team waits to play against either Michigan State or UCLA. One can only hope that fun content includes a music session with Caleb Lohner and Richard Harward. Both guys brought guitars with them on their trip that everyone around the BYU program hopes is a lengthy stay in Indianapolis.

Follow Mitch Harper and his NCAA Tournament 2021 coverage from Indianapolis with BYU and Utah State by following KSL Sports on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and the KSL Sports app.

  • BYU Cougars Scoreboard

  • BYU Cougars Team Leaders

  • BYU Cougars Standings

Cougar Tracks

BYU Football, Keanu Hill, Kaleb Hayes...
Mitch Harper

Breaking Down Footage From BYU Football’s First Scrimmage

Breaking down the footage from BYU football's first scrimmage of fall camp.
2 days ago
Utah High School Football, Corner Canyon, BYU...
Mitch Harper

Ten BYU Prospects To Watch During 2022 Utah High School Football Season

Watch for these BYU football prospects during the 2022 prep season.
4 days ago
Gunner Romney, BYU Football...
Mitch Harper

Gunner Romney Feels Better Than Ever Entering Final Season At BYU

Romney enters his final season at BYU.
9 days ago
BYU Football, Christopher Brooks...
Mitch Harper

Unloading The Notebook After Day One Of BYU Football Camp

Notes, observations, and tidbits from the first day of Camp Kalani down in Provo.
11 days ago
BYU Football, Kalani Sitake...
Mitch Harper

Harper: What I’m Watching For At BYU Football Fall Camp

BYU football kicks off Camp Kalani on Thursday with practice number one. Here are five things that Mitch Harper will be watching.
12 days ago
BYU Football, Ty Detmer, Tyler Allgeier, Reynaldo Brathwaite...
Mitch Harper

Top 20 Most Unbreakable Individual BYU Football Records

The toughest records to top in the history of BYU football.
19 days ago
BYU Basketball Settles Into NCAA Tournament Bubble Life