On Wednesday night, St. John’s and DePaul won their games in the first round of the 2020 Big East men’s basketball tournament. While that was going on, the conference announced that Thursday’s quarterfinal games would take place without fans allowed to attend due to concerns over COVID-19 aka the coronavirus.
On Thursday morning, leagues across the country left, right, and center began cancelling their conference tournaments. Part of this has to do with the shutdown of the NBA thanks to the Utah Jazz turning into a petri dish, and part of this has to do with common sense in regards to preventing transmission of the virus. Many of the announcements came very close to the start of the games, including many leagues pulling teams off the court during warmups.
The Big East? Nope, they tipped off Creighton and St. John’s and played a full half of basketball in the face of massive cancellations everywhere else. Wisdom prevailed, though, and the league called off the rest of that game at halftime, as well as the remainder of the tournament.
Shouts to Jett Canfield, the little used Creighton backup who had eight points in the first half, although St. John’s had the 38-35 advantage when play was halted.
The good news is that we are spared the looming disaster that was Marquette’s quarterfinal game against Seton Hall. The bad news is that it appears that the cancellations of tournaments across the country is merely a precursor to, at the very least, the suspension of the NCAA tournament if not the outright dismissal of the event.
It’s taken me a hot minute to get around to writing this, largely because the news release from Marquette about their own COVID-19 plans was more important to the audience of this website. Since I’m running behind on things, Duke and Kansas have announced the suspension of all athletic competitions and activities going forward.
Two things on that:
- If you think the NCAA is going to have a men’s basketball tournament with Duke and Kansas voluntarily not participating, you’re living in a fantasy land.
- Duke’s athletic director is also the chairman of the men’s basketball selection committee. To be clear: The men’s basketball selection committee chair just ended his own school’s participation in a regularly scheduled tournament.
There’s undoubtedly a lot more twists and turns coming down the pike, particularly a specific announcement from Marquette about the athletic department. I presume that the “no meetings of 50+ people between now and April 10, and no students in the res halls between now and then” covers a lot of ground on that topic, that’s just filling in the blanks there. Keep your eyes and ears open for more, and we’ll let you know when we’ll start up on postseason wrapups on Marquette’s basketball season as well as offseason content.