BY Senior Sports Reporter
Delaware’s men’s basketball was preparing for their final scheduled series versus Towson this weekend. However, as has happened often this season, the games were canceled because of COVID-19 protocols.
The Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) announced numerous updates Monday morning concerning the men’s basketball schedule. Delaware’s two games on Feb. 27 and Feb. 28 against Towson were canceled “due to COVID-19 protocols within the Towson program.”
Additionally, games between Northeastern and William & Mary, and Hofstra and Elon were canceled for protocols in the Northeastern and Hofstra programs, respectively.
In what was supposed to be the final weekend of conference play, only three games are scheduled to be played across the entire conference this weekend.
For the Blue Hens, the cancellation this weekend only lengthens their long streak of postponements and cancellations. Their last game came on Jan. 31 in a 75-70 win over Elon.
The team’s two-game series against Northeastern on Feb. 6 and Feb. 7 was put on hold after protocols in the Huskies’ program. A week later, the Blue Hens’ next four games against Drexel and James Madison were postponed because of protocols in the Delaware program.
Despite four consecutive weeks of playing no games, it remains unclear if the CAA will reschedule any games for the Blue Hens prior to the CAA Championship, which is slated for Mar. 6 through Mar. 9.
Delaware also dealt with safety protocols during their non-conference schedule, only completing five games before conference play began. Now, the Blue Hens sit at 7-7 overall and 5-4 in the CAA, with the conference tournament looming.
The standings see Coach Martin Ingelsby’s team in fifth place, thanks to a winning percentage of .556. Of the ten teams, the number of conference games completed ranges from six (UNC-Wilmington) to 14 (Hofstra). Thus, the regular season standings and postseason seedings are based on winning percentage within the conference.
If the Blue Hens are finished with their regular season matchups, they are likely to receive the No. 5 seed heading into the CAA Championship, which would grant them a first round bye. Teams seeded No. 7 through No. 10 will have to play in the first round on March 6, with the winners advancing to the second round quarterfinals.
The winner of the CAA Championship will receive an auto bid to the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Tournament, given that team has played at least 13 regular season games. Luckily for the CAA, all ten men’s basketball teams have at least 13 games under their belt.
However, with the prevalence of COVID-19 postponements and cancellations, there is the possibility that the conference tournament is canceled. Conference Commissioner Joe D’Antonio noted that the CAA will still be able to crown a champion and reward an auto bid to the NCAA Tournament in the case the conference tournament cannot be completed.
“The highest remaining seed … is declared the automatic [NCAA Tournament] qualifier for the conference … if the tournament is canceled altogether or postponed after it has started,” D’Antonio said in an interview last week.
Assuming Delaware is seeded at or around No. 5, the likelihood of being the highest remaining seed is low for the Blue Hens. A tournament cancellation could derail their hopes at a CAA Championship.
Currently, though, no regular season games remain for Delaware. Having not played in nearly a full month, the Blue Hens may see their next opponent in a must-win situation in the CAA Championship come Mar. 7, when the quarterfinals commence.