The UConn menâ€™s basketball team canâ€™t catch a COVID break.
UConnâ€™s next two games, Thursdayâ€™s clash with No. 3 Villanova and Sundayâ€™s rematch against St. Johnâ€™s in New York, were both postponed Wednesday by the Big East Conference for COVID-19 reasons.
Unlike the Huskiesâ€™ previous postponements and cancellations - theyâ€™ve had 10 of their games altered or wiped out already - this rescheduling did not come from a player or coach testing positive.
One of the referees who officiated UConnâ€™s 63-51 win over Butler Tuesday night tested positive.
â€śThis is disappointing. I really feel bad for Connecticut having gone through it now,â€ť Villanova coach Jay Wright said on a Zoom call with reporters Wednesday. â€śItâ€™s tough to tell the kids, but this is nothing compared to when itâ€™s the other way around. At least they got to practice. Our thoughts are with Connecticut.â€ť
UConn (8-3, 5-3 Big East) will enter a modified quarantine, school officials said, and will undergo daily testing. The school said it will not play until â€śit is deemed safe by medical professionals.â€ť
The next game on UConnâ€™s schedule is Feb. 6 against Seton Hall.
Butler, unlike UConn, is not pausing its activities and is expected to play Xavier Friday night.
â€śI think the way theyâ€™re playing right now, itâ€™s going to help them,â€ť Wright said. â€śAll the other guys are playing so well, when they get (James Bouknight) back theyâ€™re gonna be a handful.â€ť
Bouknight, the leagueâ€™s leading scorer, continues to recover from elbow surgery.
UConn and Villanova have played 67 times previously but have not met as Big East opponents since 2013. The Wildcats have won at least a share of the Big East regular season title six times since the Huskiesâ€™ departure, and also claimed two national titles.
Husky fans were likely looking forward to the reunion, though Wright admits he wasnâ€™t so sure.
â€śI think last night (Tuesday) they may have played their best game of the year. Just dominant defensively,â€ť Wright said. â€śI knew we were coming up there into a buzzsaw.â€ť