Utah men’s basketball game vs. Oregon State postponed after Beavers pause due to COVID-19

Utah is not scheduled to play again until Sunday when No. 17 Oregon visits the Huntsman Center

(Leah Hogsten | The Salt Lake Tribune) Utah Utes head coach Larry Krystkowiak nurses his right arm after he had surgery to repair a torn elbow tendon. The Utes defeated Idaho State 75-59 during their NCAA basketball matchup Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2020 at the Jon M. Huntsman Center.

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.