The Gophers men's basketball game Wednesday at Nebraska was postponed because of more COVID-19 positive cases announced by the Cornhuskers, including seven players and coach Fred Hoiberg.
Nebraska released a statement Sunday saying that its program is continuing to pause team activities for a minimum of seven more days after 12 total individuals had positive test
results among Tier 1 personnel.
The No. 23 Gophers (11-4, 4-4 Big Ten) are coming off a 75-57 upset of No. 7 Michigan at Williams Arena on Saturday. Their next scheduled game is Saturday against Maryland at home.
"Our thoughts are with Coach Hoiberg, his players and everyone associated with the Nebraska program," Gophers coach Richard Pitino said in a statement. "We wish all those affected a healthy recovery."
The Cornhuskers were already on pause because of COVID-19 last week and postponed games against Illinois and Maryland. A Jan. 5 game at Purdue was also postponed, but the Huskers played shorthanded against Indiana on Jan. 10, losing 84-76 for their 21st consecutive Big Ten loss. Nebraska announced that its game at Iowa scheduled for next Sunday has been postponed as well.
Nebraska was the third Big Ten program to go on pause in the past few weeks since conference play opened without any missed games in December. Penn State played is first game of 2021 on Sunday following an 11-day pause, losing at Purdue 80-72. Michigan State reportedly returned to team activities Saturday after postponing two games.
The Huskers will work with the Big Ten on options to reschedule their games, but the health and safety of their coaches, players and staff is the top concern.
"In challenging times like we are all experiencing, it reminds us what is truly important and that is our family and health," Hoiberg, the former Timberwolves player and executive, wrote on Twitter on Sunday. "I unfortunately tested positive for COVID-19 on Friday. I immediately took direction from our medical staff when I found out and started self-isolating. I am experiencing symptoms, but my condition has improved over the last 24 hours. Our program has been hit hard over the last 10 days, and we are all trying to manage it and get through it."
This will be the Gophers' first postponement all season. They did have a two-week pause due to multiple COVID-19 positive cases before the season in the fall.
Northwestern is the only Big Ten team left without a postponement in the conference.
Before the Nebraska postponement, the Gophers were looking at playing three of their next four games on the road. After playing host to Maryland, the Gophers play Jan. 30 at Purdue and Feb. 4 at Rutgers.
All four of their losses have been away from the Barn against ranked opponents.
"The thing about COVID is you have no idea what the future holds," Pitino said. "You enjoy tonight. That's it. And you keep locking in on getting better. … It's not a normal year."