College basketball coronavirus updates: NCAA tournament to be played without fans

NCAA tournament coronavirus
Getty Images
2 Comments

Due to the COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) outbreak, the NCAA announced on Wednesday that the men’s and women’s college basketball NCAA tournaments will be played without fans in the arenas, according to the latest update.

The news became official in a statement released on Wednesday afternoon.

“I have made the decision to conduct our upcoming championship events,” NCAA president Mark Emmert said in a statement, “including the Division I men’s and women’s basketball tournaments, with only essential staff and limited family attendance.”

RELATEDBubble Watch | Bracketology | Automatic Bids

The COVID-19 Advisory Panel put in place by the NCAA also released a statement on the matter, saying that they “recognize the fluidity” of the situation and they “recommend against sporting events open to the public.”

“We do believe sport events can take place with only essential personnel and limited family attendance, and this protects our players, employees, and fans,” the panel’s statement said.

WILL THE NCAA TOURNAMENT BE CANCELLED BECAUSE OF CORONAVIRUS?

As it stands, the NCAA tournament will still be played despite the spread of the coronavirus in the United States. The concern, according to the advisory panel, is not the players participating in the games. It is the spread of the virus through the fans in the crowd, college basketball fans that may be unknowingly carrying COVID-19 and transmitting the virus to other fans in attendance at the game.

Those people would be traveling all across the country to watch NCAA tournament games, bringing coronavirus back with them to areas that may have been previously unaffected.

A TIMELINE OF COLLEGE BASKETBALL’S CORONAVIRUS EVENTS

“Behavioral risk mitigation strategies are the best option for slowing the spread of this disease,” the panel said. Cancelling highly-attended events is the definition of risk mitigation. “This is especially important because mildly symptomatic individuals can transmit COVID-19.”

WILL ANY OTHER CONFERENCE TOURNAMENTS BE IMPACTED BY CORONAVIRUS?

Nearly all of the major conference tournaments have been cancelled as of Thursday afternoon. The Big East was the only conference with a 12 p.m. EST tip as St. John’s and Creighton started its quarterfinal game. That game was eventually called at halftime when the Big East cancelled the rest of the tournament.

One of the sport’s busiest weeks of the year appears to be finished.

THE MAJOR CONFERENCE TOURNAMENTS WERE TO BE PLAYED WITHOUT FANS BEFORE CANCELLATIONS

All of the tournaments that took place on Wednesday night opened their doors. But all eight of the major conferences announced throughout Wednesday evening they would follow the NCAA tournament and play the rest of the week without fans in the arena.

Every league released some variation of the same statement: Games would be played but only with essential personnel, credentialed media and a limited number of family members for each team.

Most of the tournaments cancelled before playing in front of empty arenas.

The Big East started its game with only the band, cheerleaders and 200 tickets to family being at Madison Square Garden. The conference eventually cancelled the tournament once Creighton and St. John’s went to halftime.

NEBRASKA COACH FRED HOIBERG EXITS BIG TEN TOURNAMENT WITH ILLNESS

A scary moment at the Big Ten tournament on Wednesday night. Nebraska head coach Fred Hoiberg left the game with four minutes remaining in the first half.

Hoiberg was taken to the hospital after feeling sick all day. He was clearly in discomfort on the bench.

It was initially unclear what made Hoiberg sick. Thankfully, he was cleared of coronavirus and tested positive for the flu. Hoiberg should be able to make a full recovery.

GRAND CANYON AND BAKERSFIELD WOMEN’S GAME POSTPONED DUE TO MEDICAL SITUATION

The WAC women’s conference tournament saw postponement on Wednesday. The quarterfinal matchup between Bakersfield and Grand Canyon was moved until at least Thursday morning. The postponement came due to a medical situation where a student-athlete was sick.

Stadium’s Jeff Goodman reported that the player in question went to a local hospital to be tested. The player never went to the arena.

The tournament could receive additional updates before its scheduled to resume tomorrow.

Boum, Jones lead No. 13 Xavier over No. 19 UConn, 82-79

David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports
1 Comment

STORRS, Conn. – Souley Boum scored 21 points, Colby Jones added 20 and No. 13 Xavier went on the road and held off No. 19 Connecticut 82-79 Wednesday night.

The win was the 13th in 14 games for the Musketeers (17-4, 9-1 Big East) and it gave them a season sweep over the struggling Huskies (16-6, 5-6).

Jack Nunge had 12 points and Jerome Hunter added 11 for Xavier, which led by 17 in the first half and 39-24 at halftime.

Jordan Hawkins scored 26 of his 28 points in the second half for UConn, leading a comeback that fell just short.

Tristen Newton added 23 points for the Huskies, who won their first 14 games this season but have dropped six of eight since.

The Musketeers never trailed but had to withstand UConn runs that cut the lead to a single point four times in the second half.

A three-point play from Hawkins made it 78-77 with 2:40 left. But a second-chance layup from Nunge put the lead at 80-77 just over a minute later.

Newton was fouled with two seconds left by Desmond Claude, but his apparent attempt to miss his second free throw went into the basket.

Boum then hit two free throws at the other end, and Newton’s final attempt from just beyond halfcourt was well short.

Xavier jumped out to a 9-0 lead as UConn missed its first nine shots.

A 3-pointer from Zach Freemantle gave the Musketeers their first double-digit lead at 20-9, and another from Jones pushed it to 35-18.

BIG PICTURE

Xavier: The Musketeers lead the Big East, and the win over UConn was their ninth conference victory this season, eclipsing their total from last season.

UConn: The Huskies came in with a 17-game winning streak at Gampel Pavilion dating to February 2021. They fell to 1-4 against the four teams in front of them in the Big East standings. The lone win came at Gampel against Creighton.

UP NEXT

Xavier: The Musketeers continue their road trip with a visit to Creighton on Saturday.

UConn: Doesn’t play again until next Tuesday, when the Huskies visit DePaul.

No. 12 Iowa State holds on to beat No. 5 Kansas State 80-76

Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports
0 Comments

AMES, Iowa – Jaren Holmes matched his season high with 23 points as No. 12 Iowa State held on to beat No. 5 Kansas State 80-76 on Tuesday night.

The Cyclones (15-4, 6-2 Big 12) moved into a three-way tie atop the conference standings with the Wildcats and Texas.

Gabe Kalscheur added 19 points for Iowa State. Osun Osunniyi finished with 16.

Markquis Nowell led Kansas State (17-3, 6-2) with 23 points.

A 3-pointer from Holmes gave Iowa State a 59-49 advantage with 8:12 remaining. Kansas State responded with a 10-1 run to trim the margin to 60-59.

Caleb Grill’s 3-pointer steadied the Cyclones and pushed the lead back to 63-59 with five minutes left.

Free throws by Osunniyi, Grill and Holmes sealed the victory in the final 24 seconds.

The first half featured eight lead changes and ended with Kansas State up 33-31.

A 3-pointer by Kalscheur ignited an early 9-0 run for the Cyclones and helped them build a 19-14 lead. Iowa State made just one of nine 3-point tries in the first 20 minutes.

BIG PICTURE

Kansas State was trying to extend its best start to a season since 1961-62.

Iowa State improved to 11-0 at home. The Cyclones have not lost back-to-back games this season.

UP NEXT

Kansas State hosts Florida on Saturday as part of the SEC/Big 12 Challenge.

Iowa State travels to Missouri on Saturday.

Georgetown snaps 29-game conference losing streak

Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports
0 Comments

WASHINGTON – Primo Spears scored 21 points and Georgetown snapped a 29-game conference losing streak with an 81-76 victory over DePaul on Tuesday night.

Georgetown (6-15, 1-9) won its first Big East game since March 13, 2021, ending the longest skid in the history of the conference. The Hoyas also ended a 10-game losing streak this season.

Spears also contributed six assists for the Hoyas. Akok Akok scored 12 points and added six rebounds and four blocks and Brandon Murray recorded 12 points.

Umoja Gibson led the Blue Demons (9-12, 3-7) in scoring, finishing with 24 points, four assists and three steals. Javan Johnson added 13 points.

Spears scored nine points in the first half and Georgetown went into the break trailing 37-36. Georgetown used a 10-0 run in the second half to build a 12-point lead at 75-63 with 1:39 remaining.

Nance scores 21 as North Carolina survives Syracuse, 72-68

Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports
6 Comments

SYRACUSE, N.Y. – Pete Nance scored 21 points, capped by a dunk with 19 seconds left that put North Carolina in front for good as the Tar Heels pulled out a hard-fought, 72-68 battle with Syracuse on Tuesday night.

Joe Girard hit from beyond the arc to put Syracuse up, 68-66 with 1:28 left, but after Nance hit the first of two free throws to get North Carolina within one, he missed the second free throw and in the scramble to gather in the rebound, the ball caromed toward the end line and Girard dove to save it. Instead, he flicked the ball right to Nance, who dunked for the lead.

Judah Mintz tried to drive the lane for a go-ahead layup but was called for an offensive foul that was upgraded to a flagrant foul. North Carolina took possession and Caleb Love converted three straight free throws to put the game away.

Armando Bacot scored 18 points and grabbed eight rebounds with four assists for North Carolina (15-6, 7-3 Atlantic Coast Conference). Love finished with 15 points and five assists.

Girard hit 4 of 9 from beyond the arc and finished with 18 points to lead Syracuse (13-8, 6-4). Mintz scored 17 points and had three steals and Chris Bell hit 3 of 5 from deep and finished with 15 points.

North Carolina has a week off before playing host to Pitt on Feb. 1. Syracuse plays at Virginia Tech on Saturday.

Green Bay fires Will Ryan after 11th straight loss

Robert Edwards-USA TODAY Sports
0 Comments

GREEN BAY, Wis. — Green Bay fired Will Ryan three days after the Phoenix suffered their 11th consecutive loss.

Ryan, the son of former Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan, posted a 15-61 record in 2 1/2 seasons. Freddie Owens, who had been an assistant coach on Ryan’s staff, will be interim head coach for the rest of the season.

“UW-Green Bay is committed to continuing its legacy as an outstanding Division I athletics program in the future, and Phoenix men’s basketball needs to help lead the way as we work to elevate all of our programs and be a shining light for this region and beyond,” athletic director Josh Moon said in a news release announcing the move.

Moon thanked Ryan and his family for their contributions to the program and said that “we wish him all the best in his future endeavors.”

Stadium first reported Ryan’s firing.

Green Bay dropped to 2-19 overall and 1-9 in the Horizon League with a 72-38 home loss to Robert Morris.

Ryan was hired by Green Bay after going 14-13 in his lone season as the head coach at Division II program Wheeling (West Virginia). Green Bay went 8-17 in Ryan’s debut season and finished 5-25 last year.

Ryan had taken over for Linc Darner, who went 92-80 and posted a winning record in four of his five seasons.