A marquee men’s college basketball matchup between the #15 Ohio State Buckeyes and #21 Kentucky Wildcats (AP poll rankings) set for the CBS broadcast network Saturday at 5:15 p.m. Eastern (from the CBS Sports Classic event at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, a doubleheader also set to feature a North Carolina-UCLA game) has now been cancelled thanks to positive COVID-19 results in the Buckeyes’ program. Here’s their release on that, via Jack Emerson, sports editor of Ohio State student newspaper The Lantern:
The Ohio State-Kentucky men’s basketball game Saturday has been cancelled due to positive COVID-19 tests in the Ohio State program.
The Buckeyes and Wildcats were set to play in Las Vegas for CBS Sports Classic. pic.twitter.com/b24g20pChs
— Jack Emerson (@jackemers) December 16, 2021
Interestingly enough, that came just a few hours after a press conference where Ohio State head coach Chris Holtmann (seen above during Ohio State’s Nov. 30 win over Duke) said they’d had “real conversations” about rising COVID cases in sports, but didn’t point to a potential cancellation here:
On COVID cases rising:
“We’ve had real conversations about what’s happening in professional and college sports.”
“We have a fully vaccinated program.”
— Lantern Sports (@LanternSports) December 16, 2021
As for this game, ESPN’s Jeff Borzello reported that Kentucky and CBS are working to try and line up a replacement opponent for the Wildcats:
Worth noting: Kentucky says the CBS Sports Classic is currently working with UK to find a possible replacement game for Saturday.
— Jeff Borzello (@jeffborzello) December 16, 2021
We’ll see if that comes to pass. But this is just one of many recent college basketball cancellations, including No. 4 UCLA’s home game against Alabama State Wednesday (called off less than an hour before tipoff) and No. 2 Duke’s Saturday game against Cleveland State (the Vikings also cancelled a game next week against Kent State). That UCLA cancellation may wind up impacting this CBS Sports Classic event too, even though it hasn’t yet. And these cancellations often lead to issues for the networks that were counting on having those games in that time slot.
[Jack Emerson on Twitter; photo from Adam Cairns/The Columbus Dispatch, via USA Today Sports]