COLUMBIA- The Southeastern Conference announced on Monday that the Missouri men's basketball team's game on Wednesday against Mississippi State has been postponed. The conference cited "COVID issues within the Missouri basketball program" as the reason for the postponement.
"It was a few positives," said Martin on his radio show "Tiger Talk" on Monday evening. "More than the positives it was contact tracing. So now the protocol is 5 days (a player is) out, it used to be 10 but it's 5 days out. So by the time you'd be eligible to play it'd be Thursday. So we're hopeful that we're able to play on Saturday."
The postponement of Wednesday's game comes less than a week after Mizzou head coach Cuonzo Martin missed last Thursday's SEC opener at Kentucky after he tested positive for COVID-19. At the time no Missouri players had tested positive for the virus after returning from Christmas Break. Mizzou lost at Kentucky with assistant coach Cornell Mann serving as head coach in Martin's absence.
Martin said he is feeling fine now after tweeting last week that he experienced mild symptoms. Martin went on to say that several members of his coaching staff are in COVID protocols and the team learned they would not have enough players to play the Mississippi State game on Saturday. The SEC requires teams to have a minimum of 7 scholarship players and one coach to compete.
"The thing I struggle with, and again health and safety is number one and I understand that," said Martin on Monday's radio show. "But the thing I struggle with is, if we have the vaccination shots and we've had the boosters- and not all of our guys have had their booster- and again I know this is serious so I'm not taking anything for granted but if I feel good... then I should be able to play."
"I just feel like if we feel better, and it's one thing if you have signs and symptoms, but if I don't have them and I test positive then it means anybody can test positive at any point even if they feel good."
"We had guys with a positive test but they're fine," continued Martin who also said Mizzou had "several" players who did test positive. "That part is hard because there's so many unknowns now as you move forward."
"You have your fingers crossed and just hopeful that you have enough players because we want to play the game," said Martin. "You hate to lose a home game. We want to play."
The Missouri's women's team has also battled COVID in the past week, defeating top-ranked South Carolina last Thursday with only 8 scholarship players available. The Tiger women then saw their game Sunday at Vanderbilt postponed due to more COVID issues within the program but the contest was rescheduled to Monday January 20th at 7 pm in Nashville.
Missouri announced in a press release that a make-up date for the Mississippi State game is not yet known but tickets will be honored should a new game date arise. If the game is not made up fans can get a refund on their tickets.
The next scheduled game for the Mizzou men is Saturday at home against number 15 Alabama. The Tiger women are set to host Auburn on Thursday night at Mizzou Arena.