College basketball fans were given disappointing news this morning. Less than two hours before game time, the highly-anticipated matchup between the top-ranked Gonzaga Bulldogs and the No. 2 Baylor Bears was cancelled due to a positive COVID test.
Gonzaga Bulldogs head coach Mark Few issued a joint statement alongside Baylor head coach Scott Drew, releasing that a Gonzaga player tested positive for COVID-19. The report stated that the player, along with another person associated with the team, had received news of the positive test and both are now separated from the team.
"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," said coaches Mark Few and Scott Drew.
These cancellations are taken out of an abundance of caution, and the safety of the players, coaches and staff is always prioritized in these situations. The precedent has been set by the NCAA: one positive test cancels a game.
Setting this precedent could have very impactful effects on the remainder of the NCAA season, as we have already seen other cancellations and rescheduling taking place across the country. As we creep towards conference tournaments, and eventually March Madness, teams could potentially have to go in to battle without their best players.
This makes the second cancellation of the season for the Baylor Bears, as their November 29th game against Seton Hall was called off due to COVID. Teams such as Duke, Maryland, USF, Arizona and Oregon have also been forced to reschedule games due to positive COVID tests.
As teams begin to move around the top 25 rankings, college basketball fans can expect upsets and big victories. Unfortunately, the biggest factor for the 2020 season could be COVID-19.
For an updated list on NCAAB cancellations and rescheduling, see: https://www.si.com/college/2020/11/30/ncaa-basketball-coronavirus-cancellations-schedule-updates.