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On hold again: CU Buffs men’s basketball home date against Washington State postponed

Buffs still awaiting Pac-12 opener

Colorado's Evan Battey puts up a shot against South Dakota on Wednesday.
Colorado’s Evan Battey puts up a shot against South Dakota on Wednesday.

The on, then off, then on again blur of a week for the Colorado men’s basketball team has taken yet another twist.

The Buffaloes are off once again, announcing on Friday evening the scheduled men’s basketball game Saturday afternoon between the Buffs and Washington State at the CU Events Center is postponed.

While CU coach Tad Boyle’s program this week has been hit with fits and starts, the Buffs have been back at practice while Washington State also announced on Friday it would be unable to travel to the Bay Area this weekend for its women’s team’s games at Cal and Stanford due to coronavirus issues within the Cougars’ program. Saturday’s postponement was due to COVID-19 issues within the WSU program as well.

It is unclear when the game will be rescheduled, but a release from CU said more information would be available Saturday.

The latest news caps a turbulent week that began with the Buffs regrouping following a pair of solid wins at Kansas State, despite playing without senior wing D’Shawn Schwartz in both games (as well as freshmen Keeshawn Barthelemy and Tristan da Silva in the finale). Schwartz tested positive for COVID-19 prior to the opener against South Dakota and was sent back to Boulder.

On Tuesday, the Buffs announced a program shutdown due to what Boyle later told BuffZone was a second positive test incurred by an undisclosed player. Subsequent contact tracing, which is what ultimately sidelined Barthelemy and da Silva in Kansas, left the Buffs unable to play Wednesday night at Arizona. That game, the earliest scheduled conference game in CU history, has been rescheduled for Dec. 28 in Tucson.

However, on Thursday CU made an abrupt about-face, announcing the program was back in action.

“Case investigation and contact tracing of the most recent case within the basketball program, as well as diagnostic PCR testing of all team members on Tuesday and Wednesday and our daily antigen testing cadence, indicated that no further pause in team activities is necessary,” CU athletic director Rick George said in a statement that day, adding the Buffs were moving forward in preparations to host Washington State.

Instead, the Buffs suffered their second postponement of the week, with Washington State’s trip scuttled on Friday. The Cougars are 3-0 overall and opened Pac-12 play on Wednesday with a 59-55 home win against Oregon State, getting a career-high 13 points from sophomore DJ Rodman on a 5-for-7 night from the field.

CU began the week facing the earliest conference games in program history, but now may not open league play until the rescheduled Arizona date on Dec. 28, unless the Washington State game is rescheduled earlier. The Buffs might have a full 10 days between competitions when they hit the floor again on Tuesday at home against Division II Colorado Mines, which was announced on Friday as a replacement foe for Colorado State. CSU has been shut down since Nov. 20, with Rams coach Niko Medved saying this week on a CSU radio program he doesn’t expect to have his full team at practice until next week.

It is unclear if the CSU game will be rescheduled.

The first two weeks of the college basketball season might serve as a warning to Buffs fans for what is yet to come. Through those two weeks, the Buffs have had more games postponed or canceled (three) due to COVID-19 concerns as they have played — and CU played those two games shorthanded.