No. 1 Baylor out of Empire Classic

USA TODAY Sports
Published 12:48 p.m. ET Nov. 23, 2020 | Updated 4:16 p.m. ET Nov. 24, 2020

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USA TODAY Sports’ Scott Gleeson breaks down the latest men’s basketball coaches poll.

USA TODAY

No. 1 men’s team Baylor is out of the Empire Classic at the Mohegan Sun in Connecticut scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday.

The Bears were to be the marquee team before coach Scott Drew tested positive for COVID-19. Their opening-game opponent was No. 17 Arizona State. No Baylor players have been reported as testing positive.

Baylor also said that Sunday’s game at Seton Hall was canceled.

The Sun Devils departed on Monday for Connecticut. While the team was still en route, Rhode Island was announced as the replacement for Baylor. The winner of that game would advance to play the winner of No. 3 Villanova-Boston College.

The four-team Empire Classic is part of a collection of 40 games featuring 30 teams over 11 days at what is being billed as Bubbleville. But earlier this week, Florida pulled out two games, including a matchup with No. 4 Virginia on Friday. The Gators also lost a game with UMass-Lowell. 

— Michelle Gardner, Arizona Republic. 

Scott Drew’s Baylor Bears enter the season as No. 1 in the USA TODAY Sports men’s basketball coaches poll. (Photo: Kevin Jairaj, USA TODAY Sports)

Wichita State’s rough start to season gets rougher

Less than a week after head coach Gregg Marshall resigned amid an investigation into player abuse allegations, Wichita State finds itself with a COVID-19 outbreak that will stall the start of the season.

According to the Wichita Eagle, the Shockers flew to Sioux Falls, South Dakota on Monday for the eight-team Crossover Classic that starts Wednesday. But when the traveling party arrived, several members tested positive for COVID-19. The team withdrew from the tournament. 

CBS Sports first reported the positive tests, following by The Eagle. The paper said the team is to return home Tuesday. If it has to quarantine for 14 days, two more games could be called off, bringing to five at the start of the season the team cannot play.

Tennessee coach Rick Barnes tests positive

Tennessee basketball canceled its first two games Monday and paused all team activities after multiple positive COVID-19 tests within the program, including coach Rick Barnes.

UT announced the positive tests are among its “Tier 1 personnel, which consists of coaches, student-athletes, team managers and support staff.” The tests were conducted Sunday as part of UT’s three weekly tests. UT retested Monday.

Barnes entered isolation protocol after his positive test.

The Vols canceled The Volunteer Classic, a multi-team event at Thompson-Boling Arena, due to contact tracing after consulting with the Knox County Health Department.

The No. 14 Vols were scheduled to open their season against Charlotte on Wednesday and VCU on Friday. Charlotte and VCU also mutually agreed to cancel their Thursday game at Thompson-Boling Arena.

The Vols face No. 2 Gonzaga on Dec. 2 in Indianapolis, and reportedly play at Notre Dame on Dec. 4. 

Tennessee indicated its game against Gonzaga has not been ruled out, but remains in limbo “as a projected activity-resumption date for the Volunteers will be determined following further monitoring.”

— Mike Wilson, Knoxville News Sentinel

Tennessee Head Coach Rick Barnes during a basketball game between the Tennessee Volunteers and the LSU Tigers at Thompson-Boling Arena in Knoxville, Tenn., on Saturday, January 4, 2020. (Photo: Brianna Paciorka/News Sentinel )

Duke’s season-opener postponed

The Duke men’s basketball team’s season-opener against Gardner-Webb has been postponed after a positive COVID-19 test within the Gardner-Webb program, according to a release from Duke.

The determination was made Monday morning after consultation with Duke Athletics’ medical personnel. The teams may look to make up the game at a later date should schedules permit, according to the release.

The No. 8 Blue Devils’ next scheduled contest is Saturday, November 28, versus Coppin State at Cameron Indoor Stadium. Tip time is set for 2 p.m. ET on ACC Network Extra.

Gardner-Webb’s positive COVID test also prompted Georgia to cancel it’s game against the school. Georgia is currently seeking a replacement opponent for Sunday’s game, which was scheduled to tipoff at 2:00 p.m.

— David Thompson, Asheville Citizen Times

Duke forward Wendell Moore Jr. (0) looks to pass against North Carolina during a game March 7 in Durham, N.C. (Photo: Gerry Broome/The Associated Press)

First 4 Ole Miss games canceled

The Justin Reed Classic at Ole Miss this week has been canceled.

Ole Miss was scheduled to host a three-game competition between the Rebels, Jackson State, Arkansas State and Central Arkansas from Wednesday to Friday. But the tournament is now off because of a number of positive COVID-19 tests and contact tracing within the program.

Ole Miss’ home game against Memphis on Dec. 5 has also been canceled. The Rebels will not resume team activity until Dec. 7.

Ole Miss head coach Kermit Davis tested positive for COVID-19 last week. Had the Justin Reed Classic remained on schedule, he would not have been able to coach the first two games of the event.

After these cancellations, Ole Miss’ first game of the 2020-21 season will now be on Dec. 12 against UNC-Wilmington. 

— Nick Suss, Mississippi Clarion Ledger

Three teams bow out of event over COVID

The coronavirus pandemic has left this week’s #BeachBubble Gulf Coast Showcase scrambling to find teams just days before the tournament is scheduled to begin.

East Carolina and Indiana State, scheduled to play a first-round match on Wednesday night, have chosen to pull their men’s basketball teams out of the tournament, as did Akron. The Zips were scheduled to play Middle Tennessee State on the first day of the three-day, eight-team men’s basketball tournament at Hertz Arena.

The schools have chosen not to come to Southwest Florida because of COVID-19 concerns or players testing positive.

FAMU women’s basketball opts out

The Florida A&M women’s basketball team will not compete during 2020-21 season, announcing it will opt out due to concerns with COVID-19.

“With the recent spike in COVID-19 cases, it has been determined that moving forward would not be feasible,” the school said in a statement.

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