Last March 11 was supposed to be a happy day for Joe Jones and the men’s basketball team at Boston University.

Jones had just coached the Terriers to their first-ever Patriot League title, setting them up to play in the NCAA tournament for only the eighth time. A conference trophy, tickets to the Big Dance and the mid-major hoops dream.

But that same day, an NBA player tested positive for the coronavirus. By night’s end, the entire NBA had screeched to a halt, and college basketball was about to.

"Some of the reporters after the game asked we felt about maybe the NCAA tournament getting shut down," Jones recalled. "And I was like, 'Listen, I'm not taking any questions about that. You know, we're gonna try to enjoy this moment.' But I knew, probably in my heart, that there was a chance that that was gonna happen. And then we found out the next day for sure that was the case."

That March Madness washed away into the void of 2020. But after months of waiting, colleges around the country are gearing up to tip-off again. While there’s quiet hope that this season can go smoothly, it won’t look like any other.

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