College basketball schedule 2020-21: Louisville pausing activities due to COVID-19, cancels Friday’s game

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Matt Norlander / CBS Sports

Louisville became the latest high-profile college basketball program to pause activities due to issues with COVID-19 on Thursday night, when the school announced an indefinite halt after someone in the program tested positive for COVID-19. The Cardinals are off to a 4-0 start, but their game against UNC Greensboro on Friday will be canceled. Louisville is next scheduled to play Dec. 9 against No. 4 Wisconsin.

The school has not determined if that game will be affected by the COVID-19 issues in the program. Louisville is far from the only program to be hit with scheduling problems related to the coronavirus this season. Dozens of games have been canceled or postponed as the sport begins its season with the pandemic sweeping the nation.

As developments continue to unfold, we’ll be tracking all the latest news and notes surrounding scheduling snafus below in our tracker.

Notable postponements or cancellations

  • Dec. 1: Towson at Maryland 
  • Dec. 1: Alcorn State at DePaul
  • Dec. 1: Vanderbilt vs. UConn (Uncasville)
  • Dec. 2: Colorado at Arizona
  • Dec. 3: Vanderbilt at Legends Classic (Uncasville)
  • Dec. 4: UNC Greensboro at Louisville
  • Dec. 5: Ole Miss at Memphis       
  • Dec. 8: Fordham at Saint John’s
  • Dec. 12: Saint John’s at Texas Tech

Previous postponements or cancellations

  • Nov. 25: UTSA at Oklahoma 
  • Nov. 25: Virginia vs. Maine (Uncasville, Connecticut)
  • Nov. 25: Central Arkansas at Ole MIss
  • Nov. 25: Gardner-Webb at Duke
  • Nov. 25: Northern Arizona at Arizona
  • Nov. 25-27: Creighton at Crossover Classic (Sioux Falls, South Dakota)
  • Nov. 25-27: Texas A&M at Crossover Classic (Sioux Falls)
  • Nov. 25: Western Illinois at DePaul
  • Nov. 25: UMass Lowell vs. Florida
  • Nov. 25: Stanford vs. Utah Valley
  • Nov. 25: Drexel at Penn State
  • Nov. 26: Baylor vs. Arizona State at Empire Classic (Uncasville)
  • Nov. 26: Jackson State vs. Ole Miss
  • Nov. 27: Arkansas State at Ole Miss
  • Nov. 27; Baylor at Empire Classic (Uncasville)
  • Nov. 27: Virginia vs. Florida (Uncasville)
  • Nov. 27: Florida State vs. Gardner-Webb
  • Nov. 28 Oklahoma at UCF
  • Nov. 28: Chicago State at DePaul
  • Nov. 29: Baylor at Seton Hall
  • Nov. 29: Gardner-Webb at Georgia
  • Nov. 30: Long Beach State at UCLA
  • Nov. 30: Belmont Abbey at Charlotte

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College basketball tips off, but COVID-19 cancels games, pauses programs

Nov. 25 (UPI) — More than 200 Division I men’s and women’s college basketball games are planned for Wednesday to tip off the 2020-2021 season, with thousands of athletes on courts around the country amid the coronavirus pandemic.

But not all games will go on.

The pandemic has impacted this year’s schedule, with games originally planned to start Nov. 10, but then delayed until Wednesday.

Dozens of men’s and women’s games and tournaments have been canceled or postponed due to positive COVID-19 tests for players and coaches at different programs.

Baylor, ranked No. 1 in the men’s basketball coaches poll, and No. 8 Duke are among the top teams that won’t take the floor Wednesday due to positive tests.

No. 3 Villanova, No. 4 Virginia, No. 6 Iowa, No. 7 Wisconsin, No. 9 Kentucky and No. 10 Illinois will start their seasons Wednesday. No. 2 Gonzaga will battle No. 5 Kansas on Thursday in their season opener.

Many college basketball programs will not allow fans to attend games this season as a coronavirus safety precaution, while other programs plan limited capacities.

Villanova, Gonzaga, Baylor and Iowa are among the favorites to win the 2021 men’s title on most sports betting websites. Kentucky, Virginia, Kansas, Duke, Illinois and Wisconsin also are among the programs expected to contend.

Wednesday’s games will air on ESPN platforms, FS1, FS2, CBSN, and a variety of conference-owned networks.

East Tennessee State will take on Abilene Christian in the first men’s matchup of the day, at 11 a.m. EST. The first broadcast matchup will features Florida College against South Florida and air at 11:30 a.m. EST on ESPN+.

UCLA will battle San Diego State in the final men’s game at 10:30 p.m. EST Wednesday on CBSSN.

Women’s matchups

The University of Connecticut — one of the most successful women’s basketball programs in history — paused its season Monday and postponed its first four games after a positive COVID-19 test emerged from within the team.

Despite UConn’s absence from a wealth of women’s season openers, plenty of other top programs fill Wednesday’s schedule.

No. 1 South Carolina will host Charleston in the first televised game of the women’s season. That game has a noon EST tip off and will air on the SEC Network. No. 2 Stanford will battle Cal Poly at 2 p.m. EST, but that game won’t be televised nationally.

No. 4 Baylor will take on Central Arkansas at 8 p.m. on ESPN+. No. 5 Louisville — which had their initial season opener canceled — will take on Southeast Missouri State in a late-scheduled game at 3 p.m. EST on ESPN+.

March Madness plans include single sites

Virginia and Baylor won the most recent men’s and women’s Division I basketball titles, respectively, but weren’t able to defend those titles because the 2020 tournament was canceled.

NCAA officials announced in mid-November that they are in “preliminary talks” with the state of Indiana and city of Indianapolis to host the annual 68-team men’s tournament in March and April.

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Amid a Local Outbreak, a Historically Black University Cancels Basketball

ESPN this week canceled eight men’s basketball tournaments it was planning to conduct with 22 teams at Walt Disney World near Orlando, Fla., where the N.B.A. had its playoffs at a restricted site. The events were canceled after programs balked at some of ESPN’s health and safety measures, which were more stringent than those of universities and conferences. According to CBS Sports, one proposed requirement was that anyone in a team’s traveling party who tested positive had to be isolated in the Orlando area for 14 days at the university’s expense.

Four weeks before the start of the season, the Seton Hall men’s basketball team knows the dates and locations of five games on its schedule, all in December.

“I wouldn’t use the word ‘disaster’ because that would be too light a term,” Seton Hall’s coach, Kevin Willard, said Wednesday on a Big East Conference call, before settling on a descriptor that included an expletive. The conference’s commissioner, Val Ackerman, said that she hoped the rest of the 20-game conference schedule would be released in a month, and that while the conference teams in the Northeast could travel by bus as usual, the ones that are farther afield — Xavier, Creighton and Marquette, for example — could play games in a quasi-bubble.

The season’s tentative nature is driven home by the rise in virus cases, which have grown by 41 percent nationally over the last two weeks to a daily average of more than 75,000 cases — a development that was largely expected by infectious disease experts as the weather turned chilly and more people stayed indoors, where the virus can spread more easily.

Then there are places like Daytona Beach, where Bethune-Cookman sits and where tens of thousands of visitors arrived the last two weekends for Biketoberfest and Trucktoberfest despite city commissioners not granting permits for vendors or live music. The transient population will only increase in the coming months as snowbirds arrive.

It was around that time when the parents of Imani Reid, a sophomore forward on the Bethune-Cookman women’s basketball team, arrived from Columbia, Md., to check on their daughter after she had been involved in a car accident. Shortly after they arrived home, her mother became sick with the virus. Reid’s father and younger brother also contracted it, as did her grandparents, great-grandmother and great-aunt, though they were largely asymptomatic.

“It’s a bittersweet moment,” said Reid, who was hoping to impress the coaches with her development since last season, when Bethune-Cookman won a share of the conference title for the fourth time in five seasons. But she is also viewing the decision to halt the season as a sign of providence. The meeting, she said, was emotional — particularly for the three seniors, one of whom, Amaya Scott, was voted the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference’s preseason player of the year.

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