College basketball coronavirus updates: Texas Longhorns at Kentucky Wildcats canceled
One of the marquee college men’s basketball games of the weekend, between the Kentucky Wildcats and the No. 5 Texas Longhorns, has been canceled “due to a combination of positive testing, contact tracing and subsequent quarantining of individuals” at Kentucky.
The Wildcats will pause all team activities for 48 hours.
The tilt would have brought the Longhorns to Rupp Arena as part of this weekend’s Big 12/SEC Challenge series.
The Longhorns already had two games postponed this week, against Iowa State and TCU, before coach Shaka Smart announced he had tested positive for COVID-19 on Monday. He has been quarantining since.
The cancelation marks the third time UK’s schedule has been affected by COVID-19 this season but the first time due to positive tests within the Wildcats’ program. Previous games against Detroit and South Carolina were postponed due to outbreaks in those programs.
Kentucky is next scheduled to play on Tuesday at Missouri.
Coach John Calipari acknowledged recently relaxing some of his previous efforts to keep players apart in hopes of preventing an outbreak within the program due to the need to address mental health issues resulting from players’ isolation. He rented out a movie theater for the team, has hosted players at his home and has taken the team to eat at restaurants.
“Guess what? If one of our guys gets it, we’re going to end up having to shut down because we’re doing stuff to bring them together,” Calipari said before the Wildcats’ game at Georgia last week. “…It’s all dangerous, but it got to a point where I said, ‘Look, we’ve got to do this.’ “
Contributing: Louisville Courier Journal