Pokes two-game series at Utah State postponed
LARAMIE -- The Wyoming basketball program has had just three positive COVID-19 cases since July.
That hasn't changed, first-year head coach Jeff Linder said during his weekly press conference Tuesday.
They don't want it to either.
That, in part, is why the two-game series slated for Wednesday and Friday night in Logan, Utah have been postponed by the Mountain West Conference.
"The main thing throughout the course of this year was to make sure that we kept our guys safe, not just from COVID, but mentally as well," Linder said of being overly cautious. "And, you know, we've done that. So, for us, there's no need to put us in harm's way. That's my job is to make sure I don't put our players in harms way."
Utah State's last scheduled game Saturday at Fresno State was also postponed. Shawn Harrison of the Herald Journal News in Logan said the issue was with the Aggies, though after contact tracing, the team felt they could still play.
Officials at Fresno State disagreed.
"The Aggie athletes were tested for COVID-19 on Sunday and again Monday," Harrison writes. "There were no positives, thus the game for Wednesday (against Wyoming) is on. USU will be tested again on Thursday this week.
"Who tested positive in Fresno, California, that caused the game to be postponed is not being released."
This is the Cowboys second cancelation of the season due to the ongoing pandemic. Wyoming played all seven non-conference games on its schedule but UNLV was forced to axe the opening series of Mountain West play in late December. That series has yet to be rescheduled.
Linder doesn't know if the Utah State series will happen now either.
"You know, based off of what's transpired, it's just not worth the risk," he said. "Maybe that risk is minimal, but it's just not worth us jeopardizing, especially when we've had so few cases. And now you run the risk of where you lose maybe the rest of the season if something were to happen if you go to Utah State. So, it's unfortunate. I was looking forward to playing them."
Linder offered up this tidbit for anyone who thinks the Cowboys, who are currently in the midst of a four-game losing streak, are avoiding playing the No. 1 team in the conference.
"You know, if they think that we're dodging and not trying to play them, well you can come look at my computer and you can look at all the clips and you can see how red my eyes were trying to figure out how we were going to score against them," he said. "It's just the reality of the world we live in right now."
Wyoming's next game is tentatively scheduled for Feb. 17 on the road against New Mexico. Geoff Grammer of the Albuquerque Journal reported earlier in the week that those two games will be played at the Air Force Academy's Clune Arena in Colorado Springs.
The Lobos are making that move because four of their last six games will take place in the state of Colorado, including a series against Colorado State in Fort Collins, which is scheduled to tipoff tonight. New Mexico was forced to cancel a a series against San Diego State last week because it didn't have enough available players because of the virus.
New Mexico has been playing its home games in Lubbock, Texas this winter because of coronavirus restrictions in its home state.