KU finds new opponent in Nevada after another team cancels due to COVID

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LAWRENCE, Kan. — Kansas basketball found a new opponent for Wednesday after Harvard pulled out of the game citing injuries and COVID-19 among its players.

Now the Jayhawks will host Nevada on Wednesday at Allen Fieldhouse, KU Athletics announced Monday night. Nevada also had its Dec. 29 game postponed due to COVID concerns at San Jose State.

Tickets for the previously scheduled game versus Harvard will still be valid for admission to the Nevada game.

While plenty of hope for the season remains, now that two games have been canceled, some KU fans had flashbacks to 2020, reminding them of the canceled Big 12 and March Madness tournaments.

It’s certainly not that dire yet. But fans see the situation with this game as well as last week’s canceled game against Colorado, and they are feeling a little itchy.

On Wednesday it was the lull following the holiday rush at Jock’s Nitch on Mass Street. But demand never fully fades.

“I’m a pretty easy person to buy for at Christmas,” Jayhawk fan Bill DeWitt said. “I mean, you just find something with a Jayhawk on it and buy it.”

“So I got this,” he said, pointing at his KU jacket. “I got some matching socks.”

“How long have you been a Jayhawk basketball fan?” FOX4’s Jacob Kittilstad asked.

“My entire life,” DeWitt said. “In western Kansas I was a wrestler. So from my height you can tell I’m not much of a basketball player. But I think Danny and the Miracles in ’88 kind of put it on the map.”

“Very seldom do I miss any game,” DeWitt said.

But this week’s announcement of another opponent canceling due to COVID-19, this time Harvard, has the fan base’s attention.

“One customer was saying he was trying to decide if he should refund his ticket or just get a credit for later. But he’s kind of waiting to see once they found out they were trying to replace the game,” Ryan Owen, general manager of Jock’s Nitch, said.

“It’s shades of 2020 a little bit,” KU fan Joel Grillot said. “You know, we had all that momentum going and you thought things were going well and all of a sudden things just kind of shut down.”

Echoes of trauma of which diehard fans need no reminder. DeWitt said 2020 was devastating.

“That team was playing at a high level. And actually, my wife and I, we were headed to the Big 12 Championship and learned that night that we would not be going. so that was disappointing on all kinds of levels.”

“We obviously need to play games. I think anybody that watches this team knows that there’s a lot of new pieces that kind of have to figure out their way,” DeWitt said.

Fans are also waiting to officially hear the plans on a possible replacement team to play the Jayhawks. The rumor among fans is that Nevada could be a lead contender because they also had an opponent, San Jose State, that canceled due to COVID-19.

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