The Virginia men’s basketball team plans to return to action Wednesday night against Wake Forest.
The Cavaliers’ weekend matchup with Virginia Tech was postponed due to COVID-19 issues at UVa. Tony Bennett’s team had a staff member test positive for the virus. Even following quarantining of close contacts, the Wahoos believe they’re healthy enough to safely play Wednesday night.
“We had to get some further testing and get results before we could proceed and then we practiced yesterday for the first time,” Bennett said Monday. “We have some contact tracing issues, but we’ll deal with those.”
UVa (5-2, 1-0 ACC) beat Notre Dame 66-57 in its last game, taking down the Fighting Irish in South Bend. After missing Saturday’s game, the Cavaliers hope to pick up where they left off when they return to action this week.
Virginia Tech head coach Mike Young sounded optimistic Monday that the two programs would find a time — perhaps at the end of February — to make up the missed game. Young added there was a chance UVa and Virginia Tech could’ve rescheduled the game a couple days after the postponed Saturday contest, but the quick turnaround didn’t come to fruition.
“We will make that up,” Young said. “Last week of February, we’ve got a week between games ... if there’s ever a time you’ve got to roll with the punches, this is it.”
With that game temporarily put to the side, UVa turns its attention to Wednesday’s matchup with Wake Forest.
Recent Virginia rankings
The first NET rankings of the season were released Monday, and UVa checks in at No. 45. The Cavaliers rank sixth among ACC squads.
Clemson comes in at No. 15, while Syracuse is No. 25. Louisville sits at No. 33 with Virginia Tech close behind at No. 34. N.C. State ranks 38th, and UVa rounds out ACC teams in the top 50 at No. 45.
Interestingly, Duke falls outside the top 100. The Blue Devils slide into the No. 115 position.
Virginia’s lone ACC game this season came against Notre Dame, which ranks 169th. That’s the worst ranking of all ACC squads.
In the AP poll, UVa moved up one spot to No. 22 after beating Notre Dame. Clemson and Virginia Tech are tied for 19th in the poll, while Duke checks in one spot ahead of UVa at No. 21. Florida State is ranked 25th.
March Madness in Indiana
The entire 2021 NCAA men’s basketball tournament will be held in Indiana, the NCAA officially announced Monday. Most of the games will be held in Indianapolis.
“I really don’t care if they play the tournament on Saturn or in Indianapolis,” Louisville head coach Chris Mack joked. “Hopefully we’re a part of it and we do our part to get there. Wherever they put it, they put it.”
Venues for the tournament will be Lucas Oil Stadium, Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Hinkle Fieldhouse, Indiana Farmers Coliseum, Mackey Arena and Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall. One game will be played at a time at Lucas Oil Stadium, although two courts will be used at the venue.
The Indiana Convention Center will act as a practice facility for the event.
“This is going to be complicated and difficult; there’s no question about that,” NCAA senior vice president of basketball Dan Gavitt said. “We appreciate the collaboration among the men’s basketball committee and staff, our hosts and local organizers, the staffs at each practice and competition venue, and our broadcast and corporate partners. We will all pull together and stage a terrific national championship.”
The NCAA added that it’s monitoring the pandemic and collaborating with local officials to determine potential attendance at venues. At the very least, some family members of players and coaches are expected to be allowed to attend the games.