Just when college basketball fans had something to look forward to in 2020 — a matchup between No. 1 Gonzaga and No. 2 Baylor — it was taken away in typical 2020 fashion.
Only hours before tipoff, the game was called off because of two positive COVID-19 tests within Gonzaga’s team. A joint statement from both teams said that one Bulldogs player as well as another member of the team’s travel party tested positive. The unnamed player did not play in the Zags’ 87-82 win over No. 11 West Virginia on Wednesday.
Both teams agreed to scrap the game, which was set to be played at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, after consulting with the Indiana State Health Commissioner, the Marion County Public Health Director and both team physicians.
“When we decided to play during a pandemic, our priorities were protecting the health and safety of student-athletes and following public health guidelines, and we’re proud of how both programs have held true to those promises,” Gonzaga coach Mark Few and Baylor coach Scott Drew said in a joint statement. “There are much greater issues in this world than not being able to play a basketball game, so we’re going to continue praying for everyone who has been affected by this pandemic.”
Unsurprisingly, college hoops fans were disappointed to miss out on the top-two clash.
Poor Jon Rothstein. He said his followers should tell their families not to get them anything for the holiday season because Gonzaga-Baylor was going to be all they needed.
But wait, there’s still hope! According to CBS Sports’ Matt Norlander, Few said, “We’ll find a way to play it at some point.”
Here’s an idea from CBB Central founder Kevin Sweeney: Play the game on Christmas Day. Both teams have that day off, and it would be a great opportunity to showcase the sport.
The only concern might be competing against NBA games, but if Gonzaga and Baylor can find the right time slot, it’s a contest that basketball fans across the country would love to see.
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