How COVID-19 Is Affecting the CUSA and NIT Basketball Tournaments

When Wren Baker came to the University of North Texas in 2016, he was tasked with developing an answer for a question that had plagued the university for years: what does it take to build a consistent, winning program?

The question is still asked by Baker, as well as all of his counterparts at campuses around the country. But Baker seems to have found some answers.

The North Texas basketball program enters the CUSA tournament that, set to get underway at The Star in Frisco, as the No. 1 seed.

Tyler Kern caught up with Baker to discuss how Baker’s philosophy of investing in people is starting to pay off, as the North Texas mens basketball team won its first regular season conference championship in over 30 years.

Baker recounted how the Dallas Cowboys got involved in CUSA moving its annual tournament to The Star in Frisco in 2018 and how the mixed-use venue offers something that no other basketball tournament venue offers: playing two games at a time under one roof.

How COVID-19 Affects Tournaments

Baker also sits on the selection committee of the NIT, which works alongside the NCAA tournament. He discussed how the organizations are approaching the COVID-19 epidemic. Now, since our interview with Baker earlier this afternoon, the NCAA has decided to ban fans from attending the games this March Madness season.

For many seniors, these basketball tournaments represent the last chance of playing the sport they grew up playing. Baker discusses how they balance this aspect with the overall desire to ensure fan and player safety.

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