A marquee basketball game between Florida and No. 4 Virginia scheduled for Friday has been canceled due to COVID-19 cases and contact tracing protocols within the Gators' program, the school announced on Sunday. The game was set to be played at Mohegan Sun in Connecticut, and was one one of the top matchups of college basketball's opening week. CBS Sports initially learned of the Florida pause and subsequent cancellations earlier on Sunday.
Florida was also scheduled to play UMass-Lowell at Mohegan Sun on Wednesday, and that game will also be canceled. College basketball season tips off Wednesday, but the issues faced by Florida highlight the challenges that the pandemic is presenting the sport. Approximately 40 programs remain on halt due to COVID-19 issues just three days before the scheduled start of the season.
The event at Mohegan Sun is being marketed as "Bubbleville," and is expected to include dozens of games over an 11-day span with Virginia and Florida having been expected to join programs such as Baylor, Villanova and Arizona State in a "controlled environment" involving extensive COVID-19 testing measures. There are also expected to be "protected/secure zones," in addition to hotel security on all team floors to ensure safety measures when teams aren't playing, practicing, eating as a team or doing anything else as a group.
Despite the loss of Florida's game vs. UMass-Lowell on Wednesday, there are still five games scheduled for the opening day at Mohegan Sun, including headliners such as Arizona State vs. Baylor and Villanova vs. Boston College. But the Floria vs. Virginia game was slated to be top game at the venue on Friday.