Bobcats see three more contests postponed, and looking at two-week break in games

The Mid-American Conference announced Saturday that the next three games for the Ohio University men’s basketball team have been postponed.

The news came just one day after Ohio’s scheduled game at Bowling Green – set for Saturday afternoon – was postponed due to roster issues for the Bobcats after at least one positive COVID-19 test and contact tracing.

Ohio head coach Jeff Boals is now facing the prospect of nine conference games over a three-week period to end the 2020-21 season. Photo courtesy of Ohio Athletics/Blake Nissen

With Ohio’s 14-day quarantine policy associated for players who get caught up in contact tracing, more postponements were expected to follow Friday’s announcement. The MAC said in a statement that “the postponed games will be rescheduled on a to-be-determined date.”

The latest postponements for Ohio include: Tuesday’s home game with Akron, next Saturday’s road game at Western Michigan, and a Tuesday, Feb. 16 home date against Central Michigan.

Currently, Ohio’s next scheduled game isn’t until Saturday, Feb. 27 when the Buffalo Bulls are expected to visit the Convocation Center. However, given the backlog of postponed games, the MAC and Ohio will likely try to reschedule some of the postponed games in the window between Feb. 17 and Feb. 27 – should COVID-19 protocol allow.

Ohio (11-6, 7-4 MAC) has won four straight games, and is in a good position to finish in the top eight in the conference standings – and thus earn a spot in the MAC postseason tournament. The tournament is set to begin on March 11 in Cleveland.

The Bobcats have just two originally scheduled games remaining, vs. Buffalo and at Kent State on March 2. Ohio now has seven postponed games to make up including road games at Miami, Northern Illinois, Bowling Green and Western Michigan, and home dates against Eastern Michigan, Akron and Central Michigan.

If Ohio’s testing numbers are solid, and players/staff clear contact tracing protocol, in theory the Bobcats could return to play as soon as Feb. 17. Even in that best case scenario, OU would be tasked with trying to play nine conference games over a 20-day (or so) period – Feb. 17 through March 9.

And built into that best-case scenario is the assumption that none of the opponents will run into additional COVID-19 issues of their own. And that is a huge assumption at this point.

Besides the four postponements involving Ohio, the MAC also announced the postponement of two more games on Saturday. Two Tuesday games – Toledo at Northern Illinois and Eastern Michigan at Miami – are now also in limbo.

It would seem to be a safe bet at this point that getting all nine of the remaining games in, during a limited late-season window, isn’t going to happen. The MAC will use winning percentage to determine seeding/entry for the MAC Tournament.

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