The Kentucky Wildcats missed a great opportunity for a quality win over the weekend, preparing to host No. 5 Texas a home. If they have any plans to make the NCAA Tournament, wins like that are at a premium.
But due to COVID-19 restrictions, they had to cancel Saturday’s game. And now Tuesday’s road game vs. the Missouri Tigers is being moved to Wednesday, Feb. 3rd, the league just announced. It will be played at 7 pm EST on ESPN2.
In addition, Kentucky has been cleared to resume practicing today, per Kyle Tucker.
Missouri is currently ranked as the No. 18 team in the country. They have exceeded early season expectations and have a record of 11-3 with wins over Illinois, Tennessee, Arkansas and Oregon, all of whom are projected by ESPN to make the NCAA Tournament (Missouri is currently projected as a 3 seed).
Kentucky was also forced to cancel Saturday’s SEC/Big 12 Challenge game against Texas, with protocol issues within the program. The Kentucky program was put on a 48-hour pause due to a combination of positive testing, contact tracing and subsequent quarantining of individuals within the program.
It would appear the situation within Kentucky’s program wasn’t too serious since they’ll be back in action this week. Many teams who’ve been hit with COVID-19 issues have had to pause activities for at least a week, if not longer. Kentucky players Terrence Clarke, Brandon Boston Jr. and Jacob Toppin were present for Sunday’s UK hoops win over Missouri, so clearly they aren’t in any kind of quarantine.
Incredibly, Kentucky is now ranked 72nd in the latest NET rankings, which would suggest they could get close to the bubble with wins vs. Missouri (ranked 30th) and Tennessee (ninth) this week. That seems absurd given how poor the Cats’ record is, but they have faced the fourth-toughest schedule in college basketball (per KenPom), so perhaps they’re not as far away from the bubble as one would think a 5-10 team would be.
After facing Missouri, the Cats will return home to play on Saturday when the Tennessee Volunteers come to town. Of course, that game is also subject to the health of those within the Kentucky basketball program.