With Oregon State announcing on Tuesday morning that it was pausing men’s basketball activities due to COVID-19 testing and contact-tracing protocols, the University of Utah will be absorbing the brunt of that news.
A 9 p.m., ESPNU-televised game on Wednesday between the Utes and Beavers has been postponed in the wake of the latter’s pause. As with all Pac-12 postponements due to COVID-19 factors, the league will work with both programs in an attempt to find a mutually agreeable date to reschedule the game.
Oregon State (5-4) has had considerable COVID issues lately. A New Year’s Eve matchup with Stanford in Corvallis was postponed due to Beavers testing and contact-tracing protocols. They managed to play Cal on Saturday, then made up the game against the Cardinal on Monday with a noon PST start.
Now, Oregon State will not make the trip to Utah, nor will it play at Colorado on Saturday. In total, the Beavers now have three Pac-12 games to make up after a Dec. 20 home game vs. USC was postponed.
For Utah, this will be the third time a game or games were postponed or outright canceled due to COVID-19, but the first instance in which the virus is affecting a Utes opponent. A program-wide outbreak in November canceled the Nov. 27 opener vs. New Orleans, and a positive test and ensuing contact-tracing postponed a trip to Arizona State on Dec. 22. The Salt Lake Tribune reported that the positive test that cost Utah the trip to Tempe turned out to be a false positive.
Utah’s attention now turns to Sunday and a visit from the Pac-12′s only ranked program, No. 17 Oregon. There is a possibility the Pac-12 shifts some scheduling around and produces a league opponent for the Utes at some point this week, but there was nothing imminent as of early Tuesday afternoon.
One other scheduling possibility this week is that Utah finds a non-conference opponent to play. For what it’s worth, Weber State does not have a game scheduled until Jan. 21 after positive tests at Eastern Washington canceled two games against the Eagles in Ogden on Thursday and Saturday.
Utah and Weber State have not played a regular-season game since 2011, but The Tribune reported Dec. 3 that the Utes and Wildcats conducted a scrimmage in Salt Lake City on Nov. 30, which was at a time when Utah had not yet opened its season and Weber State had 13 days between games.
Another in-state Division I program, Dixie State, which is coached by Salt Lake City native Jon Judkins, does not have anything scheduled until Jan. 15 and 16 when it plays a pair of games at UT Rio Grande Valley.