One of the marquee matchups of the ACC/Big Ten college basketball challenge will not be taking place Wednesday. No. 4 Michigan State and No. 18 Virginia were set to square off, but the game was postponed due to COVID-19 concerns in the Virginia program.
The announcement came Tuesday night, less than 24 hours before the scheduled 9:15 p.m. tip.
Michigan was also supposed to take part in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge until its matchup with North Carolina State was canceled on Monday due to COVID-19 concerns in the Wolfpack program. The Wolverines will still play a nationally televised game on Fox Sports 1 after head coach Juwan Howard worked to schedule a game with the Toledo Rockets for 6 p.m. Wednesday. Michigan enters as 12-point favorites against the Rockets. The total is at 146.5.
For the top 20 showdown that did not come to fruition, the Spartans opened as 2-point sports betting underdogs against Virginia. The total was set at 128.5.
The matchup between MSU and Virginia could still happen down the line. In the media release sent by the school, it was noted the game was “postponed” and not canceled, meaning the two teams could reschedule the game at some point this season.
MSU (5-0) will now prepare for Sunday’s noon game at home against Oakland.
The state of Michigan has seen a rise in coronavirus cases and it has extended the closure of casinos and other businesses until Dec. 20. The college football game between Michigan and Ohio State was canceled Tuesday for the first time since 1917.
One of the intriguing side plots for the game was the first matchup between the Hauser brothers. Joey Hauser is a sophomore forward for Michigan State, while Sam Hauser is a senior forward for the Cavaliers. The pair played together at Marquette during the 2018-19 season before deciding to transfer to their respective schools.
Both players sat out last season because of transfer rules, but each has already made an impact for his team. Through five games, Joey Hauser is averaging 14 points and 10 rebounds per game and is coming off the highest-scoring performance of his career: 24 points on 8 of 14 shooting, including six 3s, in the 79-61 win over Western Michigan on Sunday. He also added 10 rebounds for the double-double.
Sam Hauser is the leading scorer for the 3-1 Cavaliers, averaging 14.5 points while shooting 58% from the field and 44% from 3-point range. He was instrumental in Virginia’s 71-64 overtime win over Kent State on Friday, scoring six of his 18 points in overtime to avoid the upset bid by the unranked Golden Flashes.
As large favorites, the Spartans have struggled against the spread, failing to cover the three double-digit spreads they were favored against Eastern Michigan, Detroit and Western Michigan.
But against single-digit spreads, MSU is 2-0, including winning outright as a 4-point underdog against Duke on Dec. 1. The Spartans also covered 9.5 versus Notre Dame by winning 80-70 on Nov. 28.
Michigan backers have been profitable against the spread. The Wolverines (4-0) have covered in three of four games, including a dominant 80-58 victory over UCF on Sunday. Michigan shot 49% from the field and had four players score in double figures with Chaundee Brown leading the way with 18 points, and Hunter Dickinson (14), Terrance Williams (10) and Eli Brooks (10) the other main contributors for the Wolverines’ offense.
For Toledo (3-2), this will be the second game against a Power Five school. The Rockets held a four-point halftime lead at Xavier before the Musketeers rallied for a 76-73 win. But since the defeat, Toledo has recorded wins over Cleveland State and Eastern Michigan.
However, the Rockets’ most impressive feat is their record against the spread. Toledo is undefeated, covering in all five games this season.