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Baylor-Gonzaga Game Cancelled As COVID-19’s Onslaught Hits College Hoops

James Murphy
by in NCAAB on
  • Saturday’s game between #1 ranked Gonzaga and #2 Baylor was called off due to a positive COVID-19 test.
  • Several other games were also postponed or cancelled including Connecticut vs. North Carolina State.
  • Earlier this week, the University of Louisville ‘paused’ their basketball program due to a positive COVID-19 test.

The college basketball season is underway and like their football counterparts they’re dealing with plenty of problems related to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. On Saturday, the coronavirus forced the cancellation of arguably the most hotly anticipated game of the season to date. The matchup between #1 ranked Gonzaga and #2 ranked Baylor scheduled for Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis was ‘called off’ less than two hours before tipoff.

The reason for the cancellation was a positive COVID-19 test by a Gonzaga player and another positive test from another member of the team’s traveling party. The basketball programs at Gonzaga and Baylor released a joint statement at 8:41 AM Pacific Time that gave more detail:

Following surveillance testing for COVID-19, one student-athlete and one non-student-athlete of the Gonzaga men’s basketball travel party produced positive results. The student-athlete did not play in Wednesday’s game against West Virginia. In consultation with the Indiana State Health Commissioner, the Marion County Public Health Director, and both team physicians, Gonzaga and Baylor have mutually agreed today’s game will not be played. Both teams have agreed to attempt to reschedule the game at a later date.

Also released was a joint statement attributed to Baylor head coach Scott Drew and Gonzaga head coach Mark Few:

“We’re disappointed to not be able to play one of the most-anticipated games of the season, but we are following the advice of public health officials. When we decided to play during a pandemic, our priorities were protecting the health and safety of student-athletes and following public health guidelines, and we’re proud of how both programs have held true to those promises. There are much greater issues in this world than not being able to play a basketball game, so we’re going to continue praying for everyone who has been affected by this pandemic.”

At this point, there’s no firm makeup date though both coaches told CBS Sports that they’d make every effort to play the game at some point. Mark Few’s comments were brief and to the point:

“We’ll find a way to play it at some point. We’ll make it happen.” 

Baylor head coach Drew concurred:

“Our guys came back to college for these reasons, to play games like this. They trust us that we’ll find ways to get quality games that excite them-like this-and excite the nation. … Coach Few and I have the same philosophy … we’re going to find a way to make that happen.”

Despite the commitment of both coaches to find a way to play the game most sources–including the Don Best live odds feed–referred to the game as a cancellation:

Gonzaga v. Baylor was clearly the biggest game cancelled due to COVID-19 issues on Saturday but not the only one. Late Friday night, the game between North Carolina State and Connecticut was cancelled:

Overall, there were a total of 15 cancellations of games on today’s college basketball betting board including added games, extra games and write in games. The Nevada vs. San Francisco game was postponed due to a prohibition of hosting athletic events in the city:

In addition, several Division 1 programs have suspended basketball activities due to COVID-19 related issues. Louisville announced a ‘pause’ in their hoops program late this week:

The University of Louisville men’s basketball team has paused all team-related activities indefinitely due to a positive COVID-19 test and accompanying contact tracing measures among individuals within the program, UofL Vice-President/Director of Athletics Vince Tyra announced on Thursday.

As a result, the Cardinals’ scheduled Friday (Dec. 4) game against UNC Greensboro has been cancelled.

The pause in activities follows a positive test, subsequent quarantining, and contact tracing within the Cardinals’ “Tier 1” individuals, which consists of student-athletes, coaches, team managers and staff. The team is adhering to the outlined protocols within the ACC Medical Advisory Group report.

The positive test result was detected during the team’s Thursday’s COVID-19 testing, which is conducted three times per week in accordance with ACC protocols.

“We are adhering to the ACC and university protocols, and will monitor the matter day-to-day,” said Tyra.

On Saturday, the University of the Pacific announced the cancellation of their game against San Jose State and simultaneously announced that the basketball program would be suspending team activities for ‘a minimum of 14 days’:

Wake Forest has also paused team activities due to a COVID-19 outbreak in their program. On Friday, the Atlantic Coast Conference announced the cancellation of the game between Wake Forest and Virginia scheduled for December 16. Wake Forest had cancelled last Wednesday’s game against Troy and is indicating on their schedule that the December 13 game against Presbyterian has also been cancelled.

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