Getting basketball games off in the days of Covid has been at least as difficult, and maybe more so, than playing football games has been this fall.

Now the Wisconsin Badgers have lost another non-conference game after the University of Northern Iowa decided to end its non-conference season early and cancel the remaining two scheduled games. The Panthers and Badgers were set to play Wednesday, Dec. 16 in Madison.

Northern Iowa head coach Ben Jacobson cited injuries in his program and also referenced the “current climate” of Covid-19 as impetus for stopping early. In a move that might thwart the coach’s best intentions, he announced he was sending players home to spend time with their families, where medical experts say the virus readily transfers and spreads. 

Unless they find a last minute replacement, the 13th ranked Badgers would be finished with their non-conference schedule at 4-1, with the lone loss on the road to in-state rival Marquette. Wisconsin is slated to open the conference season at home December 21 against the Nebraska Cornhuskers.