Seventh-ranked Michigan had a rather uneventful 40 minutes against Purdue Friday evening, topping the Boilermakers 70-53 in a business-like performance in West Lafayette.
The hours leading up to the contest, however, were anything but routine.
Purdue issued a release at 5:13 p.m. ET indicating that starting guard Sasha Stefanovic would miss at least the next three games after a COVID-19 positive test. Stefanovic, the Big Ten’s 3-point percentage leader, shared his thoughts shortly after the news went public.
Though there was skepticism that the Michigan-Purdue game would be played — it was scheduled to tip less than two hours after Purdue’s announcement — both programs proceeded with their pregame routines.
Purdue men’s basketball communications director Chris Forman reassured that the game was safe to be played based on information gathered from the medical staff.
After the game, both teams were asked about the situation and their thoughts about the game still being played despite Stefanovic’s positive test.
Purdue head coach Matt Painter said that Stefanovic tested positive Thursday but had symptoms as early as Wednesday and was held out of practice both days. NCAA.com’s Andy Katz elaborated on why Purdue was able to play Friday’s game instead of going on pause:
Zach Shaw of 247Sports shared comments from Michigan head coach Juwan Howard on his decision to not postpone the game.
Michigan’s Eli Brooks and Isaiah Livers also discussed why they were initially hesitant and later OK about continuing with the matchup:
It’s clear that both programs felt confident about their execution of COVID-19 protocols to ensure there wasn’t any further spread following Stefanovic’s positive test. Though Howard, Brooks and Livers were among those who had reservations about playing, Purdue’s transparency and handling of the sensitive situation allowed those involved to feel comfortable proceeding.