Saturday's WMU-CMU men's hoops game postponed by COVID-19

Tony Paul
The Detroit News

New Central Michigan men's basketball coach Tony Barbee is going to have to wait a bit to get his first glimpse of the rivalry with Western Michigan.

Saturday's Mid-American Conference game in Mt. Pleasant has been postponed, Western Michigan announced Friday. Central Michigan confirmed its program is dealing with COVID-19 cases.

The MAC will attempt to make up the WMU-CMU game, though no date was announced Friday.

Central Michigan head coach Tony Barbee.

The Chippewas have now had two postponements in their last three games, in between suffering an 82-54 loss to Toledo. Central Michigan is 2-11, 1-1 in the MAC, in Barbee's first season as head coach. Central's next scheduled game, Tuesday at state rival Eastern Michigan, also is in jeopardy.

The MAC recently updated its winter sports forfeit policy, deeming games that can't be made up, instead, as no-contests, mostly in line with what the Big Ten and Horizon League are doing. (The Horizon League is a bit stricter, with the option of forfeits for teams that aren't 100% vaccinated.)

The MAC policy says any team without at least seven available players and one available coach falls under the threshold for being able to play.

Western Michigan (4-10, 0-3), under second-year head coach Clayton Bates, returns to action at home against Buffalo on Tuesday night.

Western Michigan and Central Michigan are set to meet Feb. 12, in Kalamazoo.

This marks the second rivalry game to be called off this week, after Detroit Mercy men had to pull the plug on its home game with Oakland on Wednesday. That game is unlikely to made up unless the Horizon League has to shuffle the schedule because of other COVID-19 cancellations later in the regular season.

Central Michigan becomes the latest Division I team in the state to deal with a COVID-19 outbreak, joining Detroit Mercy men and women, Eastern Michigan men and women, and Oakland women. The EMU men and women have returned to action, while Detroit Mercy was to return Friday night at home against Milwaukee. 

The Oakland women returned Thursday night, and, despite having just six available players and trailing by 16 early in the game, beat Purdue-Fort Wayne, 63-60.

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Twitter: @tonypaul1984