On February 4, the College of North Florida basketball crew was pulling into a Lynchburg, Va. hotel parking great deal soon after a 10-hour chartered bus ride when the sudden information hit the Ospreys like a sledgehammer.
Fred Burnett, UNF’s affiliate athletic director for Sports Overall performance, experienced just acquired the news just one of the players had analyzed favourable for COVID-19. So the Ospreys’ two scheduled game titles with Liberty more than the up coming two times would have to be postponed, their second ASUN series cancellation of the period.
Just like that, all travel options for the coaching personnel and players were altered. The Ospreys all experienced to isolate that night time in a Virginia lodge, then trip another 10 hrs again to campus the following morning. It wasn’t until 4 days afterwards that mentor Matthew Driscoll discovered that alternatively of taking part in at household last 7 days versus Bellarmine, the ASUN Conference created UNF journey back again to Lynchburg to engage in Liberty. The Flames easily swept the Ospreys and dropped them to 5-5 in league perform, eliminating them from championship rivalry.
“I felt likely into the to start with Liberty vacation, we had good electricity and momentum,” explained Driscoll. “It just felt different going again there once again the subsequent week, but that was the hand we have been dealt.”
It was but an additional example of how COVID-19 has turned this school basketball season upside down, forcing teams all above the region to offer with a number of schedule interruptions and the 7 days-to-7 days uncertainty of wondering if their future video game will even be performed.
“The mental element of 1 participant getting the purpose we had to turn all around and go house, that’s the element that is worse than anything at all,” explained Driscoll. “It was seriously difficult on that participant, and he did almost nothing erroneous. He experienced no strategy how he bought [COVID].”
It is turn out to be a weekly trend nationwide. Online games are routinely finding canceled and in numerous scenarios, by no means made up, with some Division I plans opting out and electing to resume participate in next time. But for people still trying to enjoy as numerous games as feasible, COVID-19 has turn into the toughest opponent.
Florida is scheduled to perform at Arkansas on Tuesday, which would be the Gators’ to start with sport in 13 days soon after highway contests in opposition to LSU (February 6) and Tennessee (February 10) were being scratched because of to UF’s coronavirus get hold of tracing issues. Then COVID-troubled Texas A&M was compelled to cancel its vacation to Gainesville for a Saturday sport.
“It’s a insane yr of school basketball,” claimed UF coach Mike White. “It would seem like this is the third, fourth or fifth time where we have not performed in a tiny little bit. . . . We have had so a lot adversity. I like to consider, optimistically, it’s helped our fellas expand as young gentlemen, finding out how to deal with things they cannot command.
“Not a lot changes when you are [put] on pause, besides you could have 7 guys at practice alternatively of 14.”
In addition to COVID-linked pauses, the Gators also dealt with losing star participant Keyontae Johnson to an on-court collapse during the Florida Condition match in December, which resulted in four activity cancellations and opening SEC engage in after not taking part in for 18 times. Florida (10-5 in general, 6-4 in SEC) is up to 10 games lost this season, amongst the maximum in the region.
Ahead of facing the ACC-foremost Virginia Cavaliers Monday night at household, No. 16-ranked Florida Condition (11-3, 7-2) by now had six league game titles postponed thanks to COVID. The Seminoles have performed fewer game titles than any Ability 5 or ranked staff in the region apart from South Carolina (5-9 in general). FSU has been pressured to pause its basketball actions two times this time, and in each occasions, it transpired for the reason that of a untrue positive COVID-19 examination.
With conference tournaments just two or 3 weeks absent, the stress concentrations have ratcheted up. Coaches and players reside each individual working day with the gnawing assumed that somebody’s time might not close owing to a tournament loss, but the coronavirus having them out.
“Oh, no doubt, which is unquestionably heading to come about,” claimed Driscoll.
“Yeah, I think that’s generally a risk,” White added. “Hopefully, not us.”
Some teams have been luckier with COVID than many others. Though Jacksonville College did eliminate its top rated two gamers, Kevion Nolan and Dontarius James for its to start with ASUN series in opposition to last-spot Kennesaw State, they’ve had no convention timetable improvements except possessing a two-activity set with UNF moved up a single 7 days again in January. On the other hand, Nolan has been sidelined for two prolonged durations this year with a knee injuries, and his status for a Friday-Saturday matchup with Stetson continues to be unsure.
“We’ve had a prospect to participate in with our full team for only four video games this period,” said JU mentor Tony Jasick. “But from a COVID standpoint, got to give massive credit score to our gamers and medical team. This would be easy if someone analyzed optimistic and you understood how they bought it, but which is not what we’re working with. We’re blessed we in no way had to have a comprehensive quarantine circumstance.”
A search at the ACC, ASUN and SEC standings reveals the 7 days-to-7 days volatility. 9 ACC teams have performed 12-in addition league video games, 3 10 or considerably less. The ASUN has 5 groups at 12-in addition, with Florida Gulf Coast nevertheless only 4-4 in league perform and in quarantine for this approaching weekend because of to COVID protection protocols. Florida is amid 4 teams with 10 or considerably less conference online games played, when 9 SEC groups are at 12-as well as. Owing to the uneven schedules, leagues are remaining forced to establish tournament seeding by profitable proportion.
Who is aware of what calamity may well await in the NCAA match, in which most people hopes any COVID-similar risk will be minimized by holding March Madness solely in the Indianapolis location.
In the meantime, UNF expects to be taking part in at residence Friday and Saturday versus very first-area Bellarmine, however Driscoll is organized to probably be notified Tuesday that the Ospreys may well have to participate in at Stetson rather of the Hatters traveling to JU.
Everybody’s routine is in flux, pending on which hoops plan COVID-19 could possibly strike next and how leagues have to modify.
“I never know if any one involving the age of 18 and 60 can regulate anything that they can not see,” claimed Driscoll. “It’s like likely outdoors and telling the wind not to hit me. You have no clue the place this matter is.”
Gonzaga, Baylor and Michigan are sturdy favorites to get to the Last 4, but there is minimal question about their hardest impediment to get to Indianapolis. COVID-19 waits as a potential ambush for every person.
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