COVID issues force postponement of USC men’s basketball game vs. Stanford

Days after USC’s men’s basketball program returned from its pause because of COVID-19, another of the seventh-ranked Trojans’ upcoming conference games has been postponed.

Saturday’s matchup with Stanford in Palo Alto has been postponed because of COVID-19 issues within Stanford’s program, the two schools announced Wednesday. USC and Stanford will work with the Pac-12 to reschedule the conference matchup.

For the Trojans, it’s the third Pac-12 game to be postponed this season. USC has played just two conference games and was set to start its full conference slate last weekend before confirmed positive cases within the program forced a prolonged pause that saw its games against Arizona and Arizona State called off.

USC is still slated to face California on Thursday in Berkeley, its first game in nearly three weeks. As of Tuesday, USC coach Andy Enfield said that he still was expecting to face Stanford on the second leg of the team’s Bay Area trip.

It’s hardly the only Pac-12 matchup to be postponed this week amid a coronavirus surge spurred by the Omicron variant. Seven of the conference’s 15 Pac-12 games this week already were postponed by Wednesday.

Just a few days into January — and with the current coronavirus surge showing no signs of slowing down — No. 7 USC already has three Pac-12 games to reschedule. One of those games theoretically could be moved to Saturday or Sunday, as No. 8 Arizona also finds itself with an open weekend after Arizona State was forced to postpone their matchup because of coronavirus issues within the Sun Devils’ program.

If a game takes place at Galen Center this weekend, it’ll be played in front of a near-empty arena, after USC announced Tuesday that it was closing indoor athletic events to the public through Jan. 14.

Oregon and Oregon State are scheduled to play in L.A. next week, but Oregon’s program is currently on a COVID-19 pause. UCLA coach Mick Cronin suggested earlier this week that USC could face UCLA, which has faced an onslaught of COVID-19 issues, if the two rivals have an opening on their schedules. The meeting would give the two L.A. schools three games against each other this season.

Enfield was less enthused when asked about Cronin’s suggestion, but said he was “open to anything that helps our league.” USC’s coach praised the conference for taking the lead on rescheduling games, a process that he says has been more seamless this season.

“It’s hard to say what the right solution is right now,” Enfield said. “I think we just need to try to reschedule as many games as possible and hope we don’t run out of time.”

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