kevin willard rick pitino
Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

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.

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.

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.

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.

NY/NJ hoops reporter (NBA/NCAA) & sports betting writer for XL Media. Never had the makings of a varsity athlete.