FILE - In this March 4, 2020, file photo, Florida coach Mike White gestures during an NCAA college basketball game against Georgia in Athens, Ga. Unlike a year ago, Florida begins the season unranked and won’t have nearly as much hype. (Joshua L. Jones/Athens Banner-Herald via AP, File)

Gators Men’s Basketball Pauses Team Activities Due to COVID-19 Issues

The Gatos men’s basketball team has to wait a little bit longer than expected to hit the hardwood.

Florida paused team activities Sunday due to positive COVID-19 tests. As a result, its 2020-21 season opener moved back a week with two games down the drain.

Gators Exit ‘Bubbleville’ Tournament

After being the first to report that the team had halted activities, Jeff Goodman also said the Gators were not expected to participate in their upcoming tournament. The University Athletic Association confirmed it on Twitter. It added that the team would take a one-week break.

Originally, Florida was slated to play in the ‘Bubbleville’ tournament at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut. It had UMass Lowell lined up for its first match up of the season Wednesday. Then, defending NCAA champion and fourth ranked Virginia was on the docket for Friday.

Instead, the Gators dropped out of the tournament and had those two games canceled. Gator coach Mike White said he knew that ‘Bubbleville’ was no guarantee for Florida in an interview Friday on Sportscene with Steve Russell.

He also said that his team had a 10-day span about two months ago where only five players practiced. White didn’t specify why exactly, but mentioned that injuries and COVID-related issues affected his team in the offseason. But he did not bring up any current issues with COVID-19 in the interview.

New season to start in December

With its tournament games out the window, Florida will now focus its attention to a new start date. White’s team will debut December 2 against Oklahoma — barring any further problems with COVID-19. The Gators will travel to Norman for this SEC-Big-12 matchup.

But that game is no sure thing because of the pandemic. Florida hosts Stetson on December 6, which would be the home opener regardless. Then, it’s a date with Florida State. The two rivals square off December 12 in Tallahassee.

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