Two ACC-Big Ten Challenge men’s basketball games were that were scheduled to be played Wednesday have been postponed because of COVID-19.
No. 24 Louisville’s game at No. 13 Wisconsin will not be played as scheduled on Wednesday, according to a tweet by college basketball insider Jon Rothstein with university confirmation soon after.
“Our men’s basketball program is still paused indefinitely and we will look for an alternate opportunity to play Wisconsin if possible,” athletic director Vince Tyra said in a release. “We will continue to communicate regularly with Wisconsin, the ACC and Big Ten.”
Rothstein Tweeted that Wisconsin (3-1) is finalizing a contract to play Rhode Island instead on Wednesday in Madison.
The matchup has appeared dubious since the Cardinals (4-0) began their COVID-19-related pause Dec. 3 due to a positive test and accompanying contact tracing measures among individuals within the program. The Cardinals’ game Dec. 4 against UNC Greensboro at the KFC Yum Center was subsequently canceled.
Louisville has not practiced since the team-related activities stopped. The program is abiding by ACC and university protocols.
In another Wednesday ACC-Big Ten Challenge matchup, Michigan was set to host North Carolina State in game featuring two teams also receiving votes in the USA TODAY Coaches Poll, but that game was also called off — the second consecutive Wolfpack game impacted by the coronavirus. N.C. State was forced to cancel this past Saturday’s game against Connecticut after a member of the team’s traveling party tested positive for COVID-19.
N.C. State said in a statement Sunday all members of the program received negative test results before the team traveled to Connecticut to participate in the “Bubbleville” series at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut. The Wolfpack received negative results after taking a PCR test upon their arrival at Mohegan Sun, in addition to testing negative before playing UMass Lowell on Dec. 3. The positive test result was then received after testing Friday morning, 24 hours before Saturday’s contest against Connecticut.
According to a statement released by Michigan Monday afternoon, “the two programs will try and pursue future rescheduling opportunities at a later date.”
“Far too often have I had to say we are all living in unprecedented times,” Wolverines coach Juwan Howard said in the statement. “Our main concern is the health and safety of Coach Keatts, his players as well as all of those within the N.C. State program. It is unfortunate we have to postpone this ACC/Big Ten Challenge matchup. It would have been fun. However, we must do what is right, and this is the right thing to do for everyone.”
The next game on Michigan’s schedule is a home contest against Penn State on Dec. 13.
Louisville’s next scheduled game is Dec. 16. Chris Mack’s team is slated to begin its conference slate against NC State in a 7 p.m., ESPN-televised game at the Yum Center, but with both teams’ activities on pause, the fate of that game remains uncertain.
— Shannon Russell, Louisville Courier Journal, and Orion Sang, Detroit Free Press
Gonzaga takes No. 1 spot from Baylor
Gonzaga became No. 1 in the USA TODAY Sports men’s college basketball poll Monday despite having a stretch of five games called off due to COVID-19 issues.
Saturday’s game against No. 1 Baylor was canceled hours before tip-off because one Bulldogs player and one person in traveling party had tested positive for the coronavirus. Gonzaga also will miss it’s four more games.
The Bulldogs (3-0) last played on Dec. 2. Their next potential game is Dec. 19 against Iowa in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.
Since the college basketball season began on Nov. 25, more than 50 games have been canceled or postponed.