The Southern men's basketball team was all set for its Southwestern Athletic Conference opener Saturday against Prairie View in the F.G. Clark Activity Center.
It looked like the game might have been a test of which team managed to stay sharp while navigating the impact of COVID-19 on their preconference schedule.
As it turned out, COVID-19 impacted the Jaguars' SWAC schedule, as well, wiping out their first weekend in league play.
The SWAC issued a statement Thursday night announcing that the Jaguars' game against Prairie View is postponed because of "a positive COVID-19 test and subsequent quarantining of student-athletes among the SU program.
"The action follows the guidelines and protocols set by the league and its COVID-19 Advisory Committee," the statement reads. "Makeup dates for the games have not been determined at this time."
The Jaguars' game Monday against Texas Southern had already been scratched because of COVID-19 issues within TSU's program.
The SU women are still scheduled to open SWAC play against Prairie View at 2 p.m. Saturday in the F.G. Clark Activity Center.
The Lady Jaguars' game against Texas Southern, also scheduled for Monday night, is postponed.
The SU men, meanwhile, must continue to wait.
Southern (0-4) had four nonconference games canceled but managed to add a game at Arkansas on Dec. 9. The Jaguars have not played since their Dec. 16 game at UAB.
Southern's next scheduled game is Jan. 9 at Grambling. If that game goes off without a hitch, the Jaguars will have gone 23 days between games.
The Prairie View game was supposed to bring Southern back to where it ended the 2019-20 regular season. The Jaguars broke a six-game losing streak to the Panthers with an 89-80 win at home on March 7, finishing the season 17-15 overall and 13-5 in league play. It was just enough to lift the Jaguars into the No. 2 seed for the SWAC tournament.
This season, Southern was picked to finish second in a preseason poll of the league’s coaches and sports information directors. Prairie View, which finished first last year with a 14-4 mark, was third in the poll.
Four players — Ashante Shivers, Damiree Burns, Lamarcus Lee and Kirk Parker — have started all four games for Southern. Jayden Saddler has started three while Micah Bradford got the other start against UAB.
Burns and Saddler lead Southern in scoring at 11.0 points per game. Saddler has pulled down a team-leading 6.33 rebounds per contest while Parker has averaged 4.75. As a team, Southern averages 40.0 rebounds per game and has been among the conference leaders throughout the early part of the season.
The Jaguars' next two scheduled home games are Jan. 16 against Arkansas-Pine Bluff and Jan. 18 against Mississippi Valley State.
Southern will allow up to 1,000 fans to attend basketball games, or about 13% capacity at the Activity Center.