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Michigan-NC State ACC/Big Ten Challenge showdown postponed because of COVID-19 concerns

James Hawkins
The Detroit News

The ACC/Big Ten Challenge matchup between Michigan and North Carolina State scheduled for Wednesday night has been postponed due to COVID-19-related concerns within the Wolfpack program.

The Michigan basketball program made the announcement on Monday, adding the two programs “will try and pursue future rescheduling opportunities at a later date.”

Michigan's game this week against NC State has been postponed because of COVID-19 concerns in the Wolfpack program.

N.C. State canceled its game Saturday against UConn due to a positive COVID-19 test from a member of the Wolfpack’s traveling party. The game was scheduled to be the final contest in “Bubbleville,” a series of games played at the Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, Conn.

In a statement released by N.C. State late Friday night, all program members tested negative before traveling to Connecticut. They all received a PCR test after arriving and received negative results before Thursday’s win against UMass Lowell.

The positive result came during Friday’s round of testing, which took place 24 hours ahead of the UConn contest in accordance with NCAA protocols.

"Far too often have I had to say we are all living in unprecedented times,” Michigan coach Juwan Howard said in a statement. “Our main concern is the health and safety of Coach (Kevin) Keatts, his players as well as all of those within the N.C. State program.

“It is unfortunate we have to postpone this ACC/Big Ten Challenge matchup. It would have been fun. However, we must do what is right, and this is the right thing to do for everyone."

According to Michigan’s statement, the Wolverines have “continued to follow the Big Ten protocols and remain healthy with no current COVID-related issues.”

Michigan has already played four nonconference games and has not participated in a multi-team event, meaning the Wolverines can play only one additional game under the NCAA’s scheduling restrictions on non-league contests.

If Michigan does make up the game with N.C. State, it couldn’t add another nonconference contest to the schedule. But if the Wolverines don’t, they could look to set up a game against a local or regional opponent.

Michigan is set to open Big Ten play on Sunday at home against Penn State. After that, the Wolverines won’t play again until Christmas Day at Nebraska, which allows for some scheduling opportunities. However, rescheduling with N.C. State during that window could be tricky since the Wolfpack are slated to play on Dec. 16, 19 and 22.

The Michigan-N.C. State matchup was the second ACC/Big Ten Challenge game to be put on hold Monday. Louisville and Wisconsin also postponed their meeting due to COVID-related issues in Louisville’s program. The Cardinals paused team activities last week after a positive test.

jhawkins@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @jamesbhawkins