LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Start the countdown clock:

According to multiple media sources, there are only 70 days until the opening games of the 2020-21 Division I college basketball season.

That’s a 15-day delay from when the season was scheduled to begin, but the reported decision by the NCAA council to begin the season Nov. 25 stands as the first firm evidence of plans to launch the season.

Could the plan change? Absolutely.

Check the turmoil and uncertainty that the novel coronavirus has created for college football for details.

Basketball, with games played indoors, additional travel and the prospect of playing during flu season, will face greater challenges trying to operate during a pandemic. Many of the 353 Division I programs lack the financial resources to test their athletes with the same frequency that Power 5 programs have.

But overall, the Wednesday decision was an encouraging news for players, coaches, fans and everybody who loves the game — and has lived without it since the novel coronavirus pandemic shut down the 2020 season on March 12.

Conferences tournaments and then the NCAA Tournament were shut down. A national champion was not crowned. The 68-team tournament field was neither selected nor seeded.

The focus shifted toward creating a way to safely play college basketball this season.

If Nov. 25 does become the day the season begins, it will be the latest start to a University of Louisville men’s basketball season since Nov. 22, 2008, when the Cardinals began their season against South Alabama in the Billy Minardi Classic.

Until 1980, the Cards’ season routinely began on the first weekend of December or the last weekend of November.

The decision also coincided with the arrival of the first college basketball preview magazine, published by Lindy’s.

The forecast for the local programs is not as strong as usual.

Kentucky was ranked No. 16 nationally and third in the Southeastern Conference.

Louisville earned the No. 6 ranking in the Atlantic Coast Conference and No. 38 in the nation.

Neither Indiana nor Western Kentucky made Lindy’s Top 40 but the Hilltoppers were picked to win Conference USA and the Hoosiers were slotted seventh in the Big Ten.

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