Pandemic wreaking havoc on college basketball season

Dec 27, 2021, 9:25 AM | Updated: 11:27 pm
Duke's Jeremy Roach, right, guards Virginia Tech's Storm Murphy during the second half of an NCAA c...

Duke's Jeremy Roach, right, guards Virginia Tech's Storm Murphy during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in Durham, N.C., Wednesday, Dec. 22, 2021. (AP Photo/Ben McKeown)

(AP Photo/Ben McKeown)

This basketball season is starting to feel a lot like the last one.

Games are being postponed or canceled seemingly by the minute. Schedulers are scrambling to find replacements. Dozens of teams have gone on COVID-19 pause.

The Atlantic Coast Conference scrapped three games, including two with No. 2 Duke. The Big East ditched on four games, including No. 23 Xavier against UConn, and four more on the women’s side. The No. 2 Stanford and No. 4 Arizona women also had games postponed this week due to COVID-19 protocols.

And those were just the changes announced on Monday.

Some teams have been able to find quick replacements, like No. 6 Kansas, which swapped out for Nevada Wednesday night after Harvard was hit with COVID-19 protocols.

Other teams have not, extending their Christmas breaks.

There are still a few notable games that are still on this week — at least for now.


Wednesday, as it stands now, will have three games pairing ranked opponents.

The best of the bunch could be No. 14 Tennessee at No. 19 Alabama.

The Vols (9-2) won their biggest game of the season last week, stifling No. 9 Arizona defensively before holding off a late charge to win 77-73.

Alabama (9-3) has lost two of three, including a one-point setback to Davidson at home that dropped the Tide nine spots in this week’s poll.

Another SEC opener pits No. 11 Auburn at No. 16 LSU in a showdown between two of the nation’s best defensive teams.

The LSU Tigers (12-0) are one of five remaining undefeated Division I teams after blowing out Lipscomb in their final game before the Christmas break. LSU is No. 1 in defensive efficiency, according to KenPom, and is holding teams to 54.1 points per game, second nationally.

The Auburn Tigers (11-1) are No. 10 in defensive efficiency and have allowed one team to score more than 70 points.

The Big East has four teams in the AP Top 25 and two will face off when No. 15 Seton Hall plays at No. 21 Providence.

The Pirates (9-1) have won seven straight since losing to No. 13 Ohio State, and the Friars (11-1) are on a six-game run since losing to Virginia. Seton Hall also faces No. 22 Villanova on Saturday.


Baylor was the unanimous pick at No. 1 in this week’s poll, holding down the top spot for the third straight week.

The Bears (11-0) have shown no letup after winning their first national championship in April, steamrolling one opponent after another, including victories over No. 10 Michigan State and Villanova.

Baylor will face a huge test on Saturday, opening Big 12 play at Iowa State (12-0) in a matchup of undefeated teams.

The Cyclones are seventh nationally in defensive efficiency and eighth in scoring defense, holding teams to 56.1 points per game.

Baylor, which also plays Northwestern State on Tuesday, is sixth in scoring defense (55.8 points per game) and fourth in defensive efficiency, but also fifth in offensive efficiency.

The matchup has the makings to be one of the best games of the year — if it happens. The way things are going so far, who knows.


More AP college basketball: and and

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Honey bees are swept from an upright at the beginning of the NFL football game between the Tampa Ba...
Associated Press

Bucs relocating to Miami area due to potential impact of Ian

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will relocate football operations to the Miami area in preparation for next weekend’s game against the Kansas City Chiefs ahead of the potential impact of Hurricane Ian on Florida’s Gulf Coast. The Buccaneers announced Monday night that the team will leave Tampa on Tuesday and relocate in […]
18 hours ago
Boston Celtics forward Grant Williams, left, jokes with center Al Horford, right, as the NBA basket...
Associated Press

NBA unveils No. 6 patch to honor Bill Russell across league

CANTON, Mass. (AP) — As the longest-tenured player on the Celtics, Marcus Smart has been in Boston long enough to appreciate what Bill Russell meant to the team, the city and the country. “We’ve heard things like ‘pioneer,’ ‘trailblazer,'” Smart said Monday while wearing a patch honoring the Celtics Hall of Famer who died this […]
18 hours ago
Chicago Bulls head coach Billy Donovan, center, DeMar DeRozan (11) and Zach LaVine laugh as they po...
Associated Press

Bulls set sights higher, look to build on run to playoffs

CHICAGO (AP) — Zach LaVine had quite the offseason. The Chicago Bulls’ two-time All-Star and Olympic gold medalist landed the richest contract in franchise history when he agreed to a $215 million, five-year contract. He and his wife, Hunter, welcomed their first child, a son named Saint Thomas. LaVine also had arthroscopic surgery on his […]
18 hours ago
Charlotte Hornets guard LiAngelo Ball poses for a photographer during the NBA basketball team's med...
Associated Press

Hornets enter training camp; Miles Bridges’ future uncertain

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Miles Bridges’ future with the Charlotte Hornets remains uncertain as the team prepares to open training camp on Tuesday. Bridges, the team’s leading scorer last season, was charged with three counts of felony domestic violence in June. According to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office, Bridges allegedly assaulted the mother […]
18 hours ago
FILE - Cleveland Browns defensive end Myles Garrett runs during an NFL football practice in Berea, ...
Associated Press

Browns’ Garrett in accident, injuries not life-threatening

CLEVELAND (AP) — Cleveland Browns All-Pro defensive end Myles Garrett was taken to a hospital but did not suffer life-threatening injuries after he flipped his Porsche in a one-car accident following practice Monday. The team said Garrett was taken for emergency care but did not give details about his injuries or condition. The Browns said […]
18 hours ago
Alabama linebacker Will Anderson Jr. (31) celebrates a sack against Vanderbilt during the second ha...
Associated Press

No. 2 Alabama faces 3-game stretch of ranked foe

Alabama has mostly breezed through the first month of the season, with one big scare and three games that were frightfully but predictably easy. How good is ‘Bama, really? Check back in a few weeks. The second-ranked Crimson Tide (4-0, 1-0 Southeastern Conference) start a three-game stretch against ranked teams with Saturday’s visit to No. […]
18 hours ago
Pandemic wreaking havoc on college basketball season