With COVID-19 cases again on the rise it was only a matter of time before it had yet another impact on New Mexico sports.
That impact came Wednesday afternoon with the Mountain West Conference postponed next week’s men’s basketball game between nationally ranked Colorado State and the University of New Mexico. The game was scheduled for Tuesday in The Pit and was to be the conference opener for both teams.
The MWC cited virus-related concerns within the Colorado State program for the reason behind Wednesday’s decision. One of just five undefeated teams left in the country following Arizona’s loss on Thursday to Tennessee, the Rams (10-0) are ranked No. 21 this week.
They are also the preseason favorite to win the Mountain West.
There is no date for a makeup and there is no guarantee the game will be played before the end of the regular season. It is up to both schools and the MWC to find an available date to make it happen. If it can’t, the game will be declared a no contest.
This is the third straight game CSU has had wiped off its calendar. The Rams were scheduled to play Tulsa last weekend in the Hoop Hype XL Collegiate Basketball Showcase in Fort Worth, Texas. They also had a marquee matchup in the C.M. Newton Classic set for Tuesday night at nationally ranked Alabama. That, too, was called off when CSU leaders and state officials determined it was unsafe for the team to travel to either game.
Neither of those games will be made up.
Tuesday’s postponement pushes Colorado State’s MWC opener to a Jan. 4 home game against Air Force, meaning the Rams will go 24 days between games and one full month between games at home in Moby Arena.
The Lobos are no stranger to the chaotic nature the pandemic has on getting games played. The team memorably played the entire 2020-21 season on the road, winning just six games in an abbreviated window that saw them live and train most of the time in the Texas panhandle, namely Lubbock.
The pandemic wreaked havoc on New Mexico’s entire sports landscape throughout 2020 and most of this year, forcing college athletic departments at all levels to cancel entire seasons while pushing the state’s two NCAA Division I schools, New Mexico State and UNM, to send its basketball teams and, in UNM’s case, its football team out of state in order to keep seasons alive.
The UNM men’s basketball team played its first game in The Pit on Nov. 5, ending a 21-month span without playing a game on its home floor.