A few weeks ago I wondered on Twitter whether the Huskies were about to embark on perhaps the hardest 3-game stretch of any team in the country. As it turned out Washington will play none of those games as originally scheduled after announcing today that Sunday’s contest at Gonzaga is canceled.
SCHEDULE UPDATE: Washington’s game against Gonzaga has been canceledhttps://t.co/HTqMGCuzTv— Washington Men's Basketball (@UW_MBB) December 9, 2021
Mike Hopkins in his weekly radio appearance yesterday said that the team still had not returned to practice because multiple players had tested positive and were in quarantine which left them with insufficient numbers. The Huskies would have been substantial underdogs against the Bulldogs in Spokane to begin with but if multiple players were also missing then depending on who was missing it could’ve resulted in injuries. Last season there was often a lull for teams coming off a week or more without practice after COVID-19 absences and going to the Kennel with a depleted roster to play Gonzaga would have been an incredibly difficult task. All players have avoided significant symptoms per Coach Hopkins so hopefully there will be no lingering effects once the team has been able to get back on the court and practice again. The team has stated that all players are vaccinated.
Washington’s press release notes that the game will not be rescheduled this season but the Huskies will instead travel to Gonzaga next year. This makes the 2nd consecutive year that the 2 teams will not play one another but they are living up to their tradition of alternating on which campus the game takes place. The Huskies’ trip to Arizona was postponed but UW ended up forfeiting their conference game against UCLA after the two teams were unable to find a suitable time to reschedule.
With the 2 cancelations and the postponement it means Washington will go a full 21 days in between games. The next game on the calendar is the 12/18 game against Seattle U. Given the timing of the initial cases it seems almost certain that game will go ahead as scheduled with minimal if any absences on Washington’s end.
It’s extremely unfortunate that the Huskies are the one team in the country that has been hit the hardest by COVID-19 this season. But the team will just have to do their best to develop as we rapidly approach the end of a suddenly shortened non-conference season that will end up featuring 0 top-75 opponents before playing Washington State on 12/29.