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NCAAB Notebook: Tennessee hands Arizona first loss

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December 23rd, 2021

Like all other sports, college basketball is getting hit hard by COVID-19 at the moment. However, there's still plenty of on-court news and notes to report. We’ll get to the latest on the impact of the pandemic later in the article, but for now, it’s in-game happenings that lead off this week’s NCAAB Notebook.

#19 Tennessee Hands #6 Arizona First Loss

Arizona was one of six unbeaten teams in all of Division I, but that changed Wednesday night in Knoxville. The Volunteers started the game with a 16-2 run, leaving Arizona with a large hill to climb from the opening tip. The Wildcats, though, did claw their way back (come on, you knew that was coming), and erased a 13-point halftime deficit to tie the score at 67 with just under three minutes to play. Tennessee, however, never trailed, and the Vols edged away to prevail 77-73.

#2 Duke Rallies To Top Virginia Tech In ACC Opener

The unranked Hokies gave the Blue Devils a bit of a scare Wednesday night, as they led by four at the half.

The final 20 minutes, though, belonged to the home team. Duke shot 62% from the floor in the second half, while the defense clamped down and allowed the Blue Devils to pull away to a 76-65 win. This was Duke’s last game before Christmas. The Blue Devils will be back in action next Wednesday, when they head to Clemson for an afternoon contest.

COVID-19 Roundup

News about COVID-19 could take up the entire article if we wanted it to. Instead, here are some of the most notable news and notes from the week:

  • This week’s Big East slate included a handful of COVID-induced forfeits. Georgetown forfeited its game against #22 Providence Wednesday, while DePaul forfeited its contest against Seton Hall on Monday
  • The ACC, meanwhile, revised its policies in an effort to avoid forfeits as much as possible. If games cannot be played, they will be rescheduled if at all possible. If games cannot be rescheduled, they’ll be declared "no-contests," which will not affect the records of the teams in question
  • #20 Kentucky played Western Kentucky Wednesday, rather than Louisville. The Cardinals had a number of positive tests within the program, and the rivalry game had to be postponed. The Wildcats thumped the Hilltoppers, 95-60
  • #15 Ohio State hasn’t played in nearly two weeks due to COVID issues, and the Buckeyes had to scrap Tuesday’s game against Tennessee-Martin. Their next scheduled contest is a home tilt against the University of New Orleans on Dec. 28