A rough week continues to get worse for the Iowa men’s basketball team. After falling in double overtime to Penn State on Monday, the Hawkeyes had their flight to Columbus cancelled Wednesday due to inclement weather with Thursday night’s game postponed.
Now, with a home showdown against the Minnesota Golden Gophers looming on Sunday, Fran McCaffery has tested positive for COVID-19 and will not be on the bench for Iowa’s critical home matchup.
Head Coach Fran McCaffery has entered health and safety protocols after testing positive for COVID on Friday. McCaffery will miss Sunday’s home game versus Minnesota. pic.twitter.com/UVrEKJCXKq— Iowa Men’s Basketball (@IowaHoops) February 4, 2022
Per the Iowa Sports Information Department, assistant coach Billy Taylor will assume head coaching duties for Sunday’s matchup leaving Kirk Speraw and Sherm Dillard in their roles as assistants. As noted by our own BoilerHawk and tnels20, Iowa pre-sets their scouts before the season begins and it’s highly likely the decision to have Taylor run point Sunday is an indication he’s had the Minnesota scout this year.
Notably, with McCaffery testing positive on Friday, he may well miss more time beyond Sunday’s matchup with Minnesota. Iowa travels to College Park, Maryland to take on the Terrapins on Thursday, February 10th. That’s less than a week after the initial positive result, so depending on McCaffery’s symptoms and when they resolve(d), he may or may not be able to clear protocol in time for Thursday’s matchup. If he were to be unable to coach Thursday, it’s likely we see another assistant take on head coaching duties given the approach noted above on team scouts.
While several conferences have shortened their isolation period for positive cases to five days since their last known symptoms, the Big Ten and Big 12 have yet to update their policy from the precious 10-day period announced before the college football season started. Details on McCaffery are still emerging, but the coach has previously revealed he is vaccinated, meaning he is not subject to daily testing under current protocols. As such, his positive result is likely the result of symptoms prompting a test.
In addition to Fran, Connor McCaffery’s status for Sunday remains up in the air. The senior suffered an arm contusion in Iowa’s loss to Penn State on Monday and was not expected to play in Thursday’s contest against Ohio State that has been postponed. Fran had indicated he hoped Connor would be available Sunday but nothing has been confirmed as of Friday.
The Hawkeyes are set to tip off vs. the Golden Gophers from Carver at 3:31pm on Sunday, February 6th. The game will be broadcast on the Big Ten Network.