Michigan Athletics Suspends Competitions and Practices
While there were some big games in college basketball on Saturday with impressive performances, the biggest news in the sport came from off the court. The University of Michigan athletics department announced Saturday night that it was suspended by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services for two weeks due to confirmed positive test results for the B.1.1.7 variant of COVID-19.
The school released a statement saying that the positive results were “for several individuals linked to the U-M department.”
As a result, all competitions are suspended for at least two weeks. The Wolverines men’s basketball team is 13-1 after winning at Purdue Friday night and ranked No. 7 in the country while sitting atop the Big Ten standings.
Michigan entered the week at +1200 to win the men’s NCAA basketball championship, tied for the third-best odds behind Gonzaga (+300) and Baylor (+500). The Wolverines were next scheduled to travel to Penn State and host Indiana while games against Northwestern and rival Michigan State have also been put on hold.
The Michigan women’s team is 10-1 and ranked No. 11 in this week’s Associated Press poll. At 5-1 in the Big Ten, the women’s team is one loss behind 7-0 Maryland, and its Saturday night home game against Purdue was canceled. The Wolverines will also postpone games against Michigan State, Rutgers, Minnesota and No. 7 Maryland.
The Michigan wrestling team is ranked No. 2 in the nation and was set for a meet against No. 1 Iowa and No. 10 Illinois on Jan. 31. The men’s hockey team was ranked No. 8 in the latest poll with a 10-6 record, and the No. 24 women’s volleyball team was slated to open its season Friday night against No. 9 Penn State.
All other sports are also on hold for practices or competitions. The only two sports in the athletic department not currently in some form of action are football and field hockey.
Baylor Rallies Past Cowboys; Kansas Falls
Meanwhile, on the court Saturday, the No. 2 Baylor Bears escaped upset-minded Oklahoma State with a comeback 81-66 road win. The Cowboys (9-4, 3-4) led 36-32 at halftime and led by two with 11:47 to play.
But from there, the Bears took over, going on a 17-1 run over the next 5:13. They never looked back while improving to 14-0 on the campaign. Jared Butler led the way with 22 points on 6-of-7 shooting from deep, while Mark Vital added 19 points.
Sadly for fans of the sport, the game did not include Oklahoma State star freshman Cade Cunningham. The likely top pick in the 2021 NBA draft missed the showdown because of COVID-19 protocols. The Cowboys were down to eight players, and Cunningham’s 17.8 points per game were desperately missed.
Baylor is only one game up on Texas in the loss column in the Big 12, but it likely won’t have to worry about a title run from the No. 9 Kansas Jayhawks. Bill Self’s squad suffered their third straight conference loss on Saturday with a 75-68 setback at Oklahoma.
Kansas (10-5, 4-4) will tumble down the rankings on Monday as it matched a losing streak not seen around Lawrence since 2013. Kansas will have to beat TCU on Thursday to avoid its first four-game losing streak since 1988-89.
For Dunkel Index picks on that game and others around college basketball, check out our NCAA basketball picks page.