Utah will no longer be heading to South Dakota to begin the 2020-21 college basketball season. The Utes have withdrawn from the Bad Boy Mowers Crossover Classic to begin in late November due to the rising cases of COVID-19 in the state.
CBS Sports College Basketball Insider Matt Norlander was the first to break the news.
The state of South Dakota is seeing a massive rise on COVID-19 cases, and currently has the second-fastest COVID case rate per 100,000 people in the United States. Due to this, Utah head coach Larry Krystkowiak thought it wise to pull the Utes out in hopes of rescheduling the three games.
The tournament will be played at the Sanford Pentagon in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, set to begin on Wednesday, Nov. 25.
Utah was originally slated to play in the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament at the same time period, but when tournament officials canceled that, it left a void in the Utes schedule.
Utah was slated to open up the season with Creighton, who should be ranked in the top-15 to begin the year. On Utah's side of the bracket was Dayton and Wichita State in one quarterfinal matchup, while matchups between Texas A&M-West Virginia and Ohio State-Memphis make up the other eight teams.
Seven of the eight original teams from the Battle 4 Atlantis are expected participate with Duke as the lone holdout, being replaced by Dayton.
“All members of each team’s traveling party will be tested regularly for COVID-19 once they arrive in Sioux Falls,” the press release read. “All traveling members will remain in a controlled environment during their entire stay.”
Bowing out of the tournament is a huge blow to Utah's chances of having a strong OOC rating. Playing Creighton would at the very least give the Utes a bump in the eye's of the selection committee.
Currently, Utah now has 23 games scheduled for this upcoming season. It has its 20-game conference schedule plus nonconference games against BYU, Idaho State and Utah Valley. Only BYU will help with OOC ratings.
The Utes have the ability to add up to four more games.
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