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PROVO — The West Coast Conference's start to league play will come later than expected for both BYU basketball programs.
The Omicron variant has caused several industries to slow, and even grind to a halt in some cases, like the airline industry during the holiday weekend. College basketball is the same.
The BYU men's basketball conference opener, scheduled to be played Saturday at Portland, has been postponed as a result of COVID-19 issues within the Pilots' program, the school and conference announced Wednesday afternoon. The news follows word Tuesday that San Diego's women's basketball postponed the start of its conference season, including Thursday's tipoff at BYU.
The BYU women will open conference play Saturday at home against Portland (2 p.m. MST, BYUtv).
In all, five of the conference's first seven scheduled games have been postponed, rescheduled or otherwise moved from their original dates.
Portland men's basketball is 9-6 following the end to nonconference play, including losses to Arizona State and Oregon. The Pilots' next game is currently scheduled for Thursday, Jan. 6 at Loyola Marymount.
After Wednesday night's nonconference-closing game against Division II Westminster, BYU is scheduled to host a game next Thursday, Jan. 6 at 7 p.m. MST in Provo, followed by a Saturday home tilt with Saint Mary's.
That's, of course, if the conference and university don't reschedule a game for Saturday.
Both the Cougars (11-3) and Tigers are idle Saturday after Pacific's conference opener was postponed as a result of COVID-19 cases within Santa Clara's program. The Tigers also had a game Thursday postponed with San Diego players entering isolation.