COVID sucks. Seton Hall vs. Iona is canceled
This is no fun. Jeff Goodman of Stadium was the first to report that Seton Hall and Iona‘s Saturday game was in peril. Unfortunately, what we all feared is true — Seton Hall-Iona is canceled on Saturday due to COVID-19 issues.
Gazelle Group and Iona both want Seton Hall to play on Saturday, but the Pirates have multiple COVID cases and do not want to play, source told @Stadium.
Rick Pitino vs. Kevin Willard.
This is fun stuff. https://t.co/Ri5a4Fr9Ih
— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanHoops) December 16, 2021
While this news is surprising, it shouldn’t be. COVID cases are surging in all sports from the professional to collegiate levels.
Seton Hall’s shutdown puts them in a precarious position. According to Big East rules, teams that can’t play because of COVID will be forced to forfeit games. The Pirates are supposed to play St. John’s on Monday and DePaul on Thursday.
It’s possible that Seton Hall opens up Big East play with an 0-2 record without ever stepping on the floor. That doesn’t seem right, but it’s unclear whether or not the Big East will re-evaluate these rules.
As for the Gaels, head coach Rick Pitino is searching for an opponent to play on Saturday. He took to Twitter to try and find someone to play.
Short notice, but anyone out there interested in playing us at 3:00PM on Saturday in the worlds most famous arena??? 🤦♂️
— Rick Pitino (@RealPitino) December 16, 2021
Coach, I know of a championship-winning men’s league team that will be ready to play on Saturday. Just give me a call. You know where to find me.
T. F. Noonan’s
2019 Slo-Break Champs pic.twitter.com/kF2g2yKQfY
— Danny Small (@dwsmall8) February 28, 2019
Jokes aside, Seton Hall’s COVID-19 pause is a brutal blow to Iona. If the Gaels were able to pull off the upset against the Pirates — something they are 100% capable of doing — they would set themselves up for a potential at-large bid.
Wins over Alabama and Seton Hall combined with a strong record in the MAAC would have made it tough to keep Iona out of the Big Dance, even if they lose to Monmouth or someone else in the MAAC Tournament.
For the time being, Pitino is still searching for an opponent. If he can’t find one by Friday afternoon, the program plans to schedule another non-conference opponent down the road.
COVID sucks. We are missing out on the chance to see Rick Pitino and his plucky Gaels go up against his protegé Kevin Willard and one of the best teams in the country.