It doesn’t get much better than this for an IU sports fan.
A Friday night battle for the Old Oaken Bucket, followed by a Saturday morning — yes, I said morning — IU basketball game against Butler.
The (for now) resurrected annual football rivalry game between IU and Purdue is set to kick-off at 7:30 p.m. ET on Friday night in Bloomington.
Just over twelve hours after that ends, IU basketball and Butler are set to tip-off at 11:30 a.m. ET at the Crossroads Classic in Indianapolis.
But the operative phrase here is “set to” start, because as of right now both games are in jeopardy.
INDIANA FOOTBALL STILL ON PAUSE, PURDUE LIMITED
It wasn’t by accident that Indiana and Purdue were paired for the Big Ten’s Champions Week.
Yes, preserving the rivalry is fun, but so is not wiping out your entire Champions Week before it starts.
That IU and Purdue were both on pause last week due to COVID-19 made them attractive partners for Champions Week. Each has the potential to cause a cancellation, so why not put them together?
The Indiana program confirmed on Sunday afternoon that it was still on pause.
“All team-related activities remain paused and we continue to work with our Medical Advisory Group as to when we can return,” a program spokesperson said on Sunday.
The team can still meet, review film, and game plan — all virtually, but that is hardly the same as preparing and training for a contest that is now just four days away.
Meanwhile, up in West Lafayette, Purdue might have lifted some restrictions but the team is still not back to anything resembling the new normal.
Boilermakers’ head coach Jeff Brohm was asked on Monday where his team stands.
“Well, like I said, I don’t make those decisions,” Brohm said. “I know we’re going to be limited today in the work that we can do.”
Brohm described what practice on Monday would look like.
“We’re going to be limited in some of the things that we can do,” he said. “As of right now, it’ll be masks on the field with a social distancing conditioning workout and then mask wearing walk-through after that.”
Two teams trying to get ready for a Friday night game, and neither functioning anywhere near normal on Monday.
Things don’t look promising for the second go at the Old Oaken Bucket Game.
BUTLER BASKETBALL RAMPING BACK UP?
The basketball game on Saturday looks more promising right now.
Butler has not played since beating Western Michigan 66-62 on Nov. 25. The next day, a positive COVID-19 test within the program caused the team to go on pause.
The Bulldogs have canceled four games since but resumed some group activities last week. The program has not officially announced a full return to normal practice and training, but David Woods of the Indy Star noted in a report today the team has returned to full practices.
We will get a good insight into the state of the Butler program before Saturday.
The Bulldogs are scheduled to play at Villanova on Wednesday night.
If they play that game, then it would seem like all systems go for the Crossroads Classic.
If not, an enticing 24-hours for IU fans could be completely wiped out.
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