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: https://apnews.com/hub/college-basketball and https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-basketball-poll and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25

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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Associated Press

Ex-Packer Guion gets 1 year for domestic violence assault

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Former Green Bay Packers defensive tackle Letroy Guion was sentenced to one year in jail after pleading no contest in a domestic violence assault at his home last fall. Brown County Circuit Court Judge Thomas Walsh also ordered Guion on Tuesday to serve three years’ probation and complete a domestic […]

9 months ago

Joe Jarzynka...

Associated Press

Durant eager for Suns debut vs. Hornets after knee injury

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Kevin Durant has been through quite a bit during his 15-year NBA career — but joining a new team midway through the season is a new one for the 13-time All-Star. The 34-year-old Durant doesn’t seem all that worried. Durant makes his highly anticipated Phoenix Suns debut on Wednesday night against […]

9 months ago

FILE - Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores stands on the sideline during the second half of an N...

Associated Press

Judge: NFL coach can press discrimination claims in court

NEW YORK (AP) — NFL Coach Brian Flores can pursue some of his discrimination claims against the league and its teams in court rather than through arbitration, a judge ruled Wednesday. The written decision by Judge Valerie Caproni in Manhattan was issued months after lawyers for the league tried to get the lawsuit moved to […]

9 months ago

Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Alex Stalock cools off in the first period during an NHL hockey game ...

Associated Press

Kane trade reinforces hard reality of Blackhawks rebuild

CHICAGO (AP) — After days of speculation, the harsh reality of the Chicago Blackhawks’ situation was reinforced by one move in a flurry of transactions ahead of the NHL trade deadline. Showtime is over, at least in Chicago, and a seemingly bright future is, well, way off in the distance. The reverberations of Chicago’s decision […]

9 months ago

FILE -  Yves Jean-Bart, president of the Haitian Football Federation, wearing a protective face mas...

Associated Press

Disgraced ex-Haitian soccer president announces he’s back

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) — Haiti’s former soccer federation president whose lifetime ban from sport over sexual abuse allegations was overturned last month announced Wednesday that he is reclaiming his position. Yves Jean-Bart’s defiant announcement could lead to a standoff with FIFA, which already has appointed an emergency management committee to lead the Haitian Football Association […]

9 months ago

FILE - Green Bay Packers' Aaron Rodgers walks off the field after an NFL football game against the ...

Associated Press

Rodgers says decision on future will come ‘soon enough’

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Aaron Rodgers says he will make a decision on his future “soon enough” as the four-time MVP quarterback ponders whether to play next season and if his future remains with the Green Bay Packers. Rodgers, 39, discussed his future while speaking on an episode of the “Aubrey Marcus Podcast” that […]

9 months ago

Pandemic wreaking havoc on college basketball season