Still sidelined: CU Buffs men’s basketball postpones dates at Oregon, Oregon State

Tad Boyle comments on previous cancellation against KU

Dec. 18, 2021- University of Colorado ...
University of Colorado Boulder’s head coach, Tad Boyle, talks to Eli Parquet in the CSU-Bakersfield game in Boulder on December 18, 2021.(Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)

The brief holiday break obviously didn’t begin the way anyone wanted. Yet on Sunday, as scheduled, it was back to work for the Colorado men’s basketball team.

Sort of.

Five days after their much-anticipated showdown against No. 7 Kansas was canceled due to a sudden bout of COVID-19 issues within their program, the Buffaloes resumed practice on Sunday. Yet it still will be a while before CU returns to competition.

Late Sunday afternoon, the Buffs announced that its scheduled games this week at Oregon and Oregon State have been postponed due to the same lingering coronavirus issues that forced the cancellation of the KU game.

Per Pac-12 policies, CU will attempt to reschedule the games for a later date, though no makeup dates have been settled upon just yet. The Buffs have their two one-game weeks against Utah — one the week of Feb. 7, just after the Oregon schools are scheduled to visit Boulder, and another the week of Feb. 28 during the final week of the regular season — that might allow some flexibility for rescheduled games.

While it remains unclear just how many CU players have tested positive, league policies state a team can still play if it has at least one coach and seven scholarship players available. Presumably, the Buffs were looking at being under that threshold for the Oregon trip.

CU’s workout earlier on Sunday was a light one, and somewhat lightly-attended too, as the Buffs and head coach Tad Boyle awaited the results of further coronavirus testing conducted as the squad reconvened on campus. When those results arrived later in the day, the season’s first two-game road swing within Pac-12 play officially was pulled from the docket.

“We had all of our players tested (Sunday), but we didn’t necessarily have all the results,” Boyle said prior to the announcement regarding the games in Oregon. “We’re still in flux. We knew when our guys left and came back, (Sunday) would be one of those days to see where we’re at, and then we’ll make decisions moving forward.”

While for some CU players the original plan to return home for the holidays remained unaltered, Boyle said a number of Buffs indeed had to change plans and remain in Boulder due to the turn of events last week that forced the cancellation against KU.

As previously reported, since the Buffs’ program is fully vaccinated, it took a player exhibiting symptoms on Tuesday prior to the Kansas game for a COVID-19 test to be ordered. Once that player turned up positive, further testing ensued and, later in the afternoon, prompted the cancellation.

In his first interview since the showdown against his alma mater was wiped off the slate at the 11th hour, Boyle expressed his regret at the late cancellation. And he noted that if circumstances had been different, the contest still might have tipped off even if a few players would have been forced to the sideline.

“What made the situation last Tuesday so tricky was that with Colorado and Kansas, all of our players were going home to their families (after the game),” Boyle said. “With the positive tests, we didn’t know if there were going to be more. The last thing we wanted to do, both Bill (Self, Kansas’ coach) and I, have one of our players take the virus home to their families. That’s what made it so tricky.

“If Kansas was going back to Lawrence and staying there over break, or if our players were staying over, it might have been a different decision. Both schools felt like it was the prudent thing to do, given that caveat of both teams going back home after the game.”

CU’s latest postponements deepened the COVID issues that have scuttled Pac-12 play in recent weeks. On Saturday, Stanford added its name to the list of derailed Pac-12 programs, as the Cardinal’s matchup against Vanderbilt in the championship of the Diamond Head Classic in Honolulu was declared a no contest.

No. 5 UCLA, which has played just once since defeating CU in its Pac-12 opener on Dec. 1, already postponed this week’s scheduled home dates against Arizona and Arizona State.

CU is not scheduled to play again until a Jan. 6 home date against Washington State.