The Villanova Wildcats experienced staying in Connecticut “Bubbleville” at the Mohegan Sun resort casino for a week. Coach Jay Wright said that the experience took a mental toll on the players throughout the week.

The Wildcats are currently ranked 12th and there are no worries about any physical challenges on their players. The team was in a good shape after their 87-53 win over the Hartford Hawks. The win propelled the team to three wins and one loss so far.

However, the concern that Wright had is the mental challenge it presents to the players. While the teams stayed in the bubble for a week, they were locked in their rooms and only coming out to eat, play basketball, getting tested for coronavirus, and for walking outside as a group.

Wright said, “The rooms, the security, the food was great. It was run extremely professional. But you’re inside from Monday (Nov. 23) to Tuesday (Dec. 1). I just really learned the mental impact that has on young guys, especially when they thought they were going to leave twice.”

Brandon Slater, a junior forward was asked what they did for fun there, he said, “Really, we’ve been focused on watching film and spending time with our teammates and coaches and building a bond so that when we’re not playing that we understand that we’re still a group, we’re still together and we’re trying to become a better team.”

Wright explained that nobody was allowed to leave their rooms without a security escort. The guards prevented any teams from crossing one another to avoid any mingling. Despite this, it gave the team a sense of security there. Any teams that arrived in the “bubbleville” were tested every day and isolated to prevent any players from getting coronavirus.

It was this sense of security that made him confident at the chance of playing against fellow residents, Virginia Tech and Hartford. This came as an opportunity when their games in Philadelphia against Saint Joseph’s and Temple were cancelled because of positive coronavirus tests.

Another positive experience was that the team was now familiar playing and staying in a “bubble.” Wright expects the NCAA Tournament to be held in a “bubble” as well. So, his team will know what to expect.

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