At one time or another, according to my count, there were 72 Division I men’s basketball games scheduled for Saturday. Forty-seven were played while the rest were canceled or postponed. So 35% of the schedule was eliminated by COVID-19.
“Is this the new normal?” one power-conference coach texted me Saturday night.
My reply: “Looks like it!”
As I wrote on Saturday, after the showdown between No. 1 Gonzaga and No. 2 Baylor was called off because of multiple positive tests on the Gonzaga side of things, this was always how the season would unfold once schools opted to play outside of bubbles. In the past week in the United States, new daily cases rose 10.7%, COVID-related hospitalizations rose 12.7% and COVID-caused deaths rose 35.0%. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is advising Americans to neither travel nor gather.
So good luck flying and setting ball screens.
Which is not to suggest the season should be canceled or even paused. Literally hundreds of millions of dollars are at stake. Countless jobs are at risk. It’s impossible to overstate the importance of crossing the finish line. So, one way or another, college basketball’s finish line will be crossed and a champion will be crowned. But, at this point, I’ll be surprised if we get through a single three-day period this season without COVID-19 disrupting something.
Gonzaga remains No. 1 in Sunday morning’s updated CBS Sports Top 25 And 1 daily college basketball rankings. The Zags’ next game is scheduled for Tuesday against Tarleton State. But it remains unclear if it’ll actually be played, mostly because it remains unclear if anything will actually be played.
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