When it comes to COVID-19, Gophers women's basketball coach Lindsay Whalen knows this: It's going to affect every team, at some point, this season.
"It's not a matter of if, it's when," Whalen said.
"When" for the Gophers was the summer and fall. Virus issues within the program limited their summer work to a week. They got a late start in the fall, didn't get daily testing going until the end of October, had a program-wide shutdown in November and had only four or five practices before opening night Dec. 2 — a game they played with just seven available players.
With Michigan's athletic department on a two-week shutdown because of COVID, the Gophers had Thursday's game in Ann Arbor postponed.
"Since we started playing games, this is the first one that's been moved," Whalen said. "It was preparing for the season, for us, where everything was dramatically impacted."
It would appear the Michigan postponement is well-timed. The No. 13 Wolverines are one of the Big Ten's elite teams. And the Gophers are trying to get two starting guards — Jasmine Powell and Gadiva Hubbard — healthy after suffering sprained ankles.
No Michigan game means a full week of rest and preparation before playing at Ohio State on Sunday.
Michigan's pause has forced only one men's hockey series postponement so far — this week's Wednesday-Thursday home series against Penn State.
The No. 7 Wolverines were idle last weekend and sit in third place in the Big Ten, 10 points behind the Gophers and five behind second-place Wisconsin. Getting that Penn State series back on the schedule and the opportunity for two more wins could be key for Michigan (10-6) in its quest to make the 16-team NCAA tournament.
In reacting to the school's announcement of the pause, Michigan hockey coach Mel Pearson emphasized that his team hadn't had a positive COVID-19 test since early July, MLive.com reported.
"I guess my initial reaction was a little bit of shock, a little bit of surprise, a little bit of disappointment, a little bit of anger," Pearson said during a video conference. "Our players have done a great job."
Both Wisconsin's men's and women's teams have dealt with COVID-19 postponements.
Wisconsin's men's team was missing four players for its Nov. 28-29 series because of COVID-19 issues and had to postpone its Dec. 8-9 series at Michigan State because of a positive COVID-19 test.
The Badgers women, ranked No. 1 in the country, had three consecutive series postponed because of positive COVID-19 tests: Dec. 4-5 at Minnesota (which will be played Friday and Saturday), Dec. 11-12 vs. Minnesota Duluth and Dec. 18-19 vs. Ohio State.
The Big Ten started its volleyball schedule Jan. 22 and has had eight of 31 matches postponed through Thursday. Two of the league's ranked teams, No. 9 Penn State and No. 23 Michigan, have yet to play.
The Wolverines' all-sports shutdown has postponed six volleyball matches and will keep the team on the shelf until Feb. 13-14, when it plays at Purdue. Positive tests within the Penn State program forced it to postpone matches against Ohio State last Tuesday and Sunday; the Nittany Lions also were sidelined during the league's opening weekend, when they were supposed to play at Michigan.
A Northwestern-Nebraska series last week and a Feb. 9 match between Illinois and Northwestern also have been postponed because of COVID issues in the Wildcats' program.
• Randy Johnson and Rachel Blount contributed to this story.