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The inevitable strikes as Xavier pauses for Covid

Basketball in a pandemic was always likely to be a problem.

NCAA Basketball: Oklahoma at Xavier Katie Stratman-USA TODAY Sports

First, the official news:

It was always likely that Xavier was going to miss something somewhere along the line. Every member of Xavier Nation can be forgiven for hoping that CJ Wilcher and Colby Jones missing the first five games was the closest to home the pandemic would come, that has proven not to be the case. As of this morning, Xavier will miss two games due to a positive test in their tier one personnel.

Per the NCAA, tier one is “the highest exposure tier and consists of individuals for whom physical distancing and face coverings are not possible or effective during athletic training or competition. Examples of relevant individuals include student-athletes, coaches, athletic trainers and physical therapists, medical staff, equipment staff and officials.” That obviously means someone inside the inner circle of the Xavier basketball program. For right now Xavier has not released the name of who that person is.

What does that mean, per the NCAA’s FAQ? “It means that all Tier 1 individuals are immediately quarantined for 14 days, and that contact tracing would proceed to determine if all such individuals should remain in quarantine and if there are additional individuals who may have had a high-risk exposure to an infected individual.” For now that has chopped Xavier’s first two games, meetings against Providence and Seton Hall. The Pirates have also already missed time due to positive tests.

Per the CDC the quarantine need last only seven to ten days based on multiple factors based on the time of tests, subsequent positive tests, and when symptoms are shown. Again, Xavier isn’t releasing that information for now (nor should they), so there is no real way of knowing when the Musketeers will return to practice or play. Xavier’s women’s team paused on December 4th and is currently scheduled to play the 13th. Louisville only missed a week after their positive test.

There is no good news here. Someone close to Xavier’s team is sick with a virus that has caused a global pandemic and that has felled many healthy young men already. Obviously the biggest concern is that the sick person gets better. On a basketball level this is a team that was hitting stride and had just ripped apart a top 25 KenPom team in Oklahoma. All of that momentum will be gone now as every player in Xavier’s rotation will now spend a long time pondering the walls. College basketball was always going to be a struggle this season, that struggle has just hit home.