Just as college basketball fans were looking forward to something in 2020 – a matchup between Gonzaga # 1 and Baylor # 2 – it was typically taken away for 2020.
Just hours before the start, the game was abandoned because of two positive COVID-19 tests on Gonzaga's team. A joint statement from both teams said that a Bulldogs player as well as another member of the team's travel group tested positive. The unnamed player did not play in the Zags' 87-82 win over West Virginia # 11 on Wednesday.
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Both teams agreed to cancel the game, which was to be played at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, after consulting the Indiana State Health Commissioner, Marion County Public Health Director, and both team doctors.
"When we decided to play during a pandemic, our priorities were protecting the health and safety of athletes and following public health guidelines. We are proud that both programs kept these promises," said Gonzaga's coach Mark Few and Baylor trainer Scott Drew said in a joint statement. "There are much bigger problems in this world than not being able to play a basketball game, so we will continue to pray for everyone affected by this pandemic."
Unsurprisingly, college fans were disappointed with missing the top two.
Poor Jon Rothstein. He said his followers should tell their families not to get them anything for the holiday season because Gonzaga-Baylor would be all they needed.
Please call or text all of your friends and relatives this morning and tell them you don't want or need any presents this holiday season.
Because today at 1pm ET we have Baylor / Gonzaga on CBS!
– Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) December 5, 2020
This is exactly where I'm standing, just checking my email to see where to get my credentials. Instead, a new email appears telling me that Gonzaga vs. Baylor didn't happen.
– Mark Titus (@clubtrillion) December 5, 2020
But wait, there is still hope! According to CBS Sports' Matt Norlander, Few said, "We're going to find a way to play it at some point."
Well, let's go: Mark Few just said on CBS, "I absolutely think we're going to see" Gonzaga versus Baylor sometime later this season. Adds that he wants to give his players the opportunity to take part in this game. "We'll find a way to play it at some point."
– Matt Norlander (@MattNorlander) December 5, 2020
Here's an idea from CBB Central founder Kevin Sweeney: Play the game on Christmas Day. Both teams have the day off and it would be a great opportunity to showcase the sport.
The only worry might be facing NBA games, but if Gonzaga and Baylor can find the time slot right, it's a competition basketball fans across the country would love to see.
Let me finish:
Gonzaga versus Baylor on Christmas Day.
Both teams are from 21.12. Until December 29th Open.
Make it possible.
– Kevin Sweeney (@CBB_Central) December 5, 2020