The Michigan men’s basketball team will not play its Feb. 11 game against Illinois, according to a press release, and was first reported by Chris Balas. The game is postponed as a part of the program’s “return-to-play planning,” according to the release.
The Wolverines’ next scheduled game on Feb. 14 against Wisconsin is expected to go on as planned, according to the release. On Thursday, associate head coach Phil Martelli told CBSSports that Michigan and Wisconsin were currently discussing next steps with protocols.
The Wolverines have been on hiatus since Jan. 24, when the University, in accordance with a recommendation from the state health department, put all athletic programs on a two-week pause due to concerns over the novel B.1.1.7 COVID-19 variant.
While the men’s basketball team has no known positive cases, players have been unable to practice or use team facilities. As a result, even though the pause is set to expire on Sunday, Feb. 7, players will likely require additional time to get back into playing shape.
Michigan last played on Jan. 22 against Purdue. Should both the Illinois and Wisconsin games be postponed, the Wolverines are not scheduled to play again until Feb. 18 against Rutgers. By then, nearly a month will have passed since Michigan last played.
In total, the Wolverines will have missed five games due to its pause. Michigan is currently “working with the Big Ten to identify options for rescheduling opportunities,” according to the release.
Prior to the pause, the Wolverines had positioned themselves to make a run at a Big Ten regular season title — they still sit atop the Big Ten standings, one game ahead of Illinois. The long layoff could potentially derail those hopes.
And now, Michigan will have to wait a little longer to take the court again.