Sports

Wisconsin high school, college men’s basketball canceled due to COVID-19

The WIAA Boys State Basketball Tournament will not be played at the Kohl Center and UW-Madison men's basketball team season ended due to concerns related to the COVID-19 virus.

The WIAA Boys State Basketball Tournament will not be played at the Kohl Center and UW-Madison men's basketball team season ended due to concerns related to the COVID-19 virus.

Image By: Taylor Wolfram

Amid growing fears of the COVID-19 virus, UW-Madison announced Thursday it would not host the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association’s Boys State Basketball Tournament at the Kohl Center later in March. 

“This decision has been made in consultation with local and public health officials to discourage and limit large gatherings on campuses in light of the COVID-19 situation,” the university said in a release.  

All campus events in excess of 50 participants — with certain exceptions — will be canceled through April 10, according to another release.

UW-Madison, in conjunction with the WIAA, originally announced it would provide a specific amount of tickets for each team for the tournament games, which were scheduled for March 19-21, instead of handing out general admission tickets. 

The university advised all spectators — especially older adults — to exercise caution and “use their best judgment when deciding to attend the event.” 

However, the WIAA Girls State Basketball Tournament proceeded unencumbered Thursday, with its first game tipping off at 1:35 p.m. as No. 1 Platteville High School (25-0 overall) took down No. 4 Arcadia High School (23-3 overall) 48-45 to advance to the Division 3 State Championship Game. 

All of the girls’ basketball games will be televised and live-streamed. 

The cancellation at the high school level followed decisions made at the collegiate level — The Big Ten canceled its conference tournament Thursday morning and the NCAA said later in the afternoon it would cancel its men’s and women’s postseason tournaments as well. 

After a seesaw start to its year, the No. 18 Wisconsin men’s basketball team saw its season come to an abrupt end following its best stretch of the season.  

The Badgers (14-6 Big Ten, 21-10 overall) rattled off eight consecutive conference wins to clinch a share of its first Big Ten regular season championship in five years. 

ESPN’s Joe Lunardi projected the Badgers to be a 4-seed in the upcoming NCAA tournament. 

The Badgers had not left for Indianapolis — the host-site of the Big Ten tournament — when the conference handed down its announcement, the Wisconsin State Journal reported.

Still, juniors D’Mitrik Trice and Aleem Ford were seen shooting baskets at the Shell Thursday afternoon, according to an employee. 

For senior guards Michael Ballard and Brevin Pritzl, the cancellations signaled the end of their collegiate careers. 

“Definitely didn’t think this would be how my time at UW ends,” Pritzl tweeted. “It’s been an amazing ride the past five years. Thanks to everyone who has helped make me the player I am today.”

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