Opponent COVID-19 Issues Once Again Alter Notre Dame’s Schedule
Notre Dame basketball was about to play two straight conference games for the first time this year, a prime chance for one of the ACC's hottest teams to continue to stack wins and an opportunity to reach .500 on the season.
Those plans were wrecked, for now.
The Irish's Wednesday evening game against Clemson was postponed due to a positive COVID-19 test within the Tigers' program, the ACC announced Monday. No makeup day or replacement opponent was announced, but head coach Mike Brey said on Monday's ACC coaches' teleconference Notre Dame will explore a replacement opponent for Wednesday. It might be another league game. It might be a non-conference one.
"We'd love to play," Brey said. "There is some balance that has to be worked through.
"You can only ask people to do so much. Everybody's trying."
The Clemson postponement is the eighth Notre Dame game canceled or pushed back due to opponent COVID-19 issues this season and the first affected since the cancellation of a Jan. 18 trip to Howard.
"I give our guys credit," Brey said Sunday, before he knew of the cancellation. "They have rolled with the punches with cancellations, gaps and everything."
Notre Dame (9-10, 6-7 ACC) now has 18 scheduled ACC games and is next slated to play at Syracuse on Feb. 20. A previously postponed Jan. 6 home game vs. Georgia Tech has not been given a makeup date. Wednesday's game was the only scheduled meeting between Notre Dame and Clemson. As it stands now, Notre Dame has 10 ACC road games and eight conference home games on the schedule.
North Carolina had a Tuesday home game against Virginia Tech called off and has not replaced it, but the Tar Heels indicated Monday they are looking to play at home rather than travel. They have played four straight on the road, have not seen their home floor since Jan. 23 and have hosted only six games at the Dean Smith Center all year. In light of that, a game between North Carolina and Notre Dame this week seems unlikely.
The Irish are 6-2 in their last eight games and have climbed 35 spots in the KenPom.com rankings. They are 53rd after defeating Miami 71-61 Sunday night. Clemson is ranked 46th in the NET rankings and presented a chance for Notre Dame to snatch a Quadrant 2 win Wednesday.
This story will be updated.
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