It may not have been arranged quite the way anyone expected, but the Colorado men’s basketball team still will resume Pac-12 Conference play in Oregon after all.
On Tuesday, the Pac-12 announced the Buffaloes’ game the Oregon Ducks, originally slated for Thursday before COVID-19 issues hit the CU program, instead will be played on Monday night (Jan. 3). Tipoff will be at 8 p.m. MT and the game will air Pac-12 Networks.
The Buffs’ other postponed game, the New Year’s Day matchup at Oregon State, will be rescheduled at a later date.
Tuesday’s news means the Buffs are expecting enough of their quarantined players to be back at practice by Saturday, as Pac-12 quarantine protocols require players to log at least two full practices before being cleared for games. Those same protocols require at least seven scholarship players to be available in order to play a game.
“We couldn’t play both of them, because we have Washington State on Thursday the sixth,” Boyle said. “That’s why the third was the only date we could do it that week. That’s assuming we’ll have seven scholarship players healthy and a couple practices under our belt so we can make that happen.”
As for when exactly some of those players might return to practice, that remains somewhat up in the air.
The announcement on Monday afternoon by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommending a shortening of required quarantine time for COVID infections among vaccinated, asymptomatic people from 10 days down to five could eventually help stem the recent spate of cancellations and postponements.
Shortly after that announcement by the CDC, the ACC announced it was adopting the shortened quarantine protocols for the remainder of the basketball season. The Pac-12 has yet to follow suit, but assuming that happens at some point, it will help curtail the sudden spate of cancellations and postponements that have decimated college basketball schedules throughout December.
In the Buffs’ case, a shortened quarantine time would not have changed the fate of the postponed game against nationally-ranked Kansas on Dec. 21. But it might have allowed CU to return to the floor quickly enough to avoid postponing the entire two-game Oregon trip.
“I would like to think we can move in that direction,” Boyle said. “They (the ACC) made the announcement. We didn’t. Nobody has told me anything. If that was in place, we may have been able to play at Oregon State (on New Year’s Day). I don’t know that, because I don’t know what the Pac-12 is going to come out with in terms of our rules, but even with the five day deal and getting guys back at practice, the (Dec. 30) would have been almost impossible for us to play. But the January first date might have been possible.”
Tuesday’s practice once again was a lightly-attended one for a Buffs team still mostly dealing with quarantine situations. For those few who have been on the floor, the challenge has been to make the most of a less than ideal situation.
“It’s just all a chance for us to get better,” sophomore Tristan da Silva said following Tuesday’s practice. “Obviously with guys out with COVID, it’s a different deal. But for us, it’s just another day, another opportunity, to get in the gym and work on things in break down groups. When you have smaller groups, it’s easier to work on the little stuff that you usually don’t pay as much attention to at practice.”