Kentucky and Texas have had their schedules altered by COVID-19 issues just as both teams also rose in the rankings.
This week’s men’s basketball showdown between the No. 20 Wildcats and archrival Louisville in Lexington was postponed because of multiple positive COVID-19 tests within the Cardinals’ program.
Louisville interim athletic director Josh Heird stated in a release that team-related activities have been paused indefinitely.
The Bluegrass rivalry matchup that was scheduled for Wednesday between the school located 80 miles apart has been played annually since the 1982-83 season. With the schools monitoring developments to reschedule that meeting, Wildcats coach John Calipari announced on his radio show Monday night his team will now host Western Kentucky. The game Wednesday night will be the first matchup between the Wildcats and Hilltoppers since the 2012 NCAA Tournament.
Kentucky is coming off Saturday’s 98-69 rout of North Carolina in the CBS Sports Classic in Las Vegas, a matchup rescheduled after both schools’ opponents pulled out following COVID-19 issues. That game helped the Wildcats move up a spot in this week’s poll. Louisville lost 82-72 on Saturday at in-state rival Western Kentucky without senior center Malik Williams, who was reportedly out because of COVID-19 protocols.
Texas, which rose a spot to No. 16 in the rankings on Monday, is also open on Wednesday after its scheduled in-state meeting against Rice was postponed due to COVID-19 issues within the Owls’ program. Rice is scheduled to play North Texas on Jan. 1 in its Conference USA opener.
Elsewhere, the Big East announced that Thursday’s scheduled game between No. 15 Seton Hall and host DePaul has been canceled because of COVID-19 issues within the Blue Demons’ program.
According to conference policy, DePaul forfeits and is assigned a loss in the league standings. Seton Hall gets credited with a conference win.
It was a reversal of sorts for the Pirates (9-1), who had their previous two scheduled games called off due to their own COVID-19 problems. That included a non-conference matchup with Iona at Madison Square Garden on Saturday and a forfeit of its scheduled Big East opener Monday night against St. John’s.
Seton Hall hasn’t played since beating Rutgers on Dec. 12 and now isn’t slated to return to action until Dec. 29 at No. 22 Providence.
The surprising Blue Demons (9-1) also had a non-conference game canceled Saturday at Northwestern and forfeited their scheduled Big East opener Monday night against Creighton. They haven’t played since beating UIC on Dec. 14, and the hiatus will last until at least Dec. 29 at Butler.
Rutgers will reschedule Thursday’s game against Central Connecticut to a later date due to COVID-19 protocols and out of an abundance of caution. The Big Ten school’s game against Rider that was postponed on Saturday has been canceled.
Evansville paused men’s basketball team activities on Friday that forced the postponement of Saturday’s home game against Tennessee-Martin. Athletic department officials announced the Purple Aces (4-8, 0-1 Missouri Valley Conference) would not travel to Dallas for Tuesday’s game against SMU because of COVID-19 developments.
No makeup dates have been announced though a release stated that it was following league and NCAA protocols. Evansville’s next scheduled game is Jan. 2 at Northern Iowa.
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