The Missouri Tigers men’s basketball team’s Jan. 5 game against Mississippi State has been postponed.
The University of Missouri announced Jan. 3 that the Tigers men’s basketball team’s Jan. 5 game against the Mississippi State Bulldogs has been postponed. The schools have not announced a make-up date for the game.
A press release from the Tigers said “a combination of positive tests, contact tracing and subsequent quarantining of individuals within the Mizzou program” led to the postponement. The game was supposed to be Mizzou’s SEC home opener, and the team’s first game in Columbia, Mo., since Dec. 18.
The SEC released new COVID-19 protocols in late December, setting a roster minimum of seven players and one coach. If a team does not meet that, it can choose to play or request a postponement. The conference’s original policies said a team unable to play would forfeit the game, but removed that rule in the December revision.
The Bulldogs will be another challenging opponent for Missouri, ranking 37th in NET rankings and 10-3 on the season. Mississippi State opened SEC play Dec. 29 against the Arkansas Razorbacks, winning 81-68. While the Bulldogs do not rank high nationally in a specific statistic, they are winning their games by an average of 13 points.
The Tigers are coming off a dreadful 83-56 loss to the Kentucky Wildcats, Dec. 29, 2021. The 6-7 Tigers already have several obstacles in their way to a successful season, now COVID-19 further disrupts the program. The Tigers’ acting coach spoke on positive takeaways from an abysmal SEC opener.
“I think we’re learning to fight,” said assistant coach Cornell Mann. “I challenge someone to have a tougher month of basketball than Mizzou. I think our schedule is tough, and that’s the way we want it. It’s building character on the floor for us.”
The Jan. 8 game against the Alabama Crimson Tide is still scheduled as planned. Whether that game will be played “will be determined in the coming days,” a school spokesperson said. Still, at Mizzou Arena, fans should monitor the COVID-19 situation in Missouri closely. The Crimson Tide are SEC contenders this year, currently 10-3 and in KenPom’s and AP’s Top 15.