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How an ACC men’s basketball bubble could work, starting next week

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No seriously, let’s just do this and stop pretending the current way works.

NCAA Basketball: North Florida at Miami-Florida Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Even as COVID-19 cases seem to be going down throughout the country, the instances of cancelled college basketball games appear to be going up (at least partially coinciding with general student populations returning to campuses). With this in mind, and for the sake of everyone’s well-being, it’s probably best to cut the charade and just go to bubble play early.

With conference tournaments already very much in either doubt, peril or both, why not do what you can to minimize lost postseason games now? The ACC could be at the forefront of adjusting its schedule for both player safety and solidifying TV inventory on ESPN for the rest of the season. “All” they have to do is just head down to Greensboro a little early.

Rather than have the ACC travel to play regular season games until March 6 — just three days before the start of the conference tournament — why not hit pause now? Given everyone a week to test, quarantine and make needed arrangements, and then potentially close out the regular season from Feb. 20-Mar. 6 in Greensboro.

To keep things moving, it’s also for the best to end Boston College’s season here given COVID issues and availability questions within the Eagles’ program. So that means you’re still taking the top 14 teams down, with the goal of playing four games apiece over the span of 15 days.

You wouldn’t even have to change the schedule much for any team (other than BC, who wouldn’t have one). Here’s how it could look:

NCAA Basketball: Duke at Syracuse Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Saturday, Feb. 20

Sunday, Feb. 21

Monday, Feb. 22

Tuesday, Feb. 23

  • Louisville vs. Notre Dame
  • North Carolina vs. Syracuse

Wednesday, Feb. 24

  • Florida State vs. Miami
  • Virginia Tech vs. Georgia Tech
  • Clemson vs. Wake Forest

Thursday, Feb. 25

  • Duke vs. Pittsburgh

Friday, Feb. 26

  • Virginia vs, Miami
  • Florida State vs. North Carolina
  • Virginia Tech vs. Wake Forest

Saturday, Feb. 27

  • Louisville vs. Clemson
  • Syracuse vs. Georgia Tech

Sunday, Feb. 28

  • Pittsburgh vs. NC State
  • Duke vs. Notre Dame

Monday, Mar. 1

  • Virginia vs. Clemson

Tuesday, Mar. 2

  • Syracuse vs. Florida State

Wednesday, Mar. 3

  • Louisville vs. Duke
  • Virginia Tech vs. Miami

Thursday, Mar. 4

  • Notre Dame vs. NC State

Friday, Mar. 5

  • Pittsburgh vs. Wake Forest

Saturday, Mar. 6

  • North Carolina vs. Georgia Tech

And from there, you get three days’ break from weeks of tournament-like action before the actual conference tournament. Sound fun? I certainly think so. Also, everyone gets a NET boost from all of these games being on a neutral site.

Cool? Cool. ACC, let’s get moving on this ASAP.