Men's basketball: A COVID-related MAAC schedule change gives Iona new first opponent
After another restructuring of the MAAC basketball schedule last month, Iona appeared to know who it would play and when. But a COVID-related pause for the Gaels' first opponent has resulted in yet another shift.
The MAAC determined Tuesday that Iona will now open the league slate with a pair of road games at Quinnipiac on Dec. 11 and 12. The Gaels were originally scheduled to travel to Quinnipiac in January.
The Dec. 11-12 dates were originally slated as home games against Monmouth, but the Hawks were shut down last week for the second time this season after a positive COVID-19 test in the program. Per NCAA rules, they likely won't be eligible to resume team activities until Dec. 9 at the earliest.
Monmouth's most recent pause erased all three of the team's non-conference games: Hofstra (Nov. 25), Maryland (Dec. 1) and St. Francis-Brooklyn (Dec. 4). The Hawks are now slated to open the season Dec. 18 at home against Saint Peter's.
Iona opened its season with an 86-64 loss to Seton Hall Monday in Pitino's coaching debut with the Gaels.
They are next scheduled to host Merrimack at the Hynes Center Thursday, followed by a trip to Hofstra on Saturday. However, the team had already been forced to cancel their first four games due to an ill-timed COVID shutdown of its own last month. Wagner also pulled out of a game in New Rochelle that was scheduled for Sunday.
The two Monmouth games have now been moved to Feb. 26-27 — the week designated by the league for rescheduled games. Both will be played in New Rochelle.
Josh Thomson is the Local Sports Editor for The Journal News and Poughkeepsie Journal. He can be reached by email at email@example.com, on Twitter at @lohudinsider, and on Instagram at @lohudinsider.