Big Ten Tournament Cancelled Minutes Before Tipoff Thursday

The NCAA Tournament will likely be next.

97.1 The Ticket
March 12, 2020 - 12:00 pm
Banker's Life Fieldhouse

© Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

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First it would go on as planned. Then it would be played without fans. 

And on Thursday morning, minutes before Michigan and Rutgers were set to tip off, the Big Ten Tournament was canceled altogether amid fears of the coronavirus. 

The Big Ten released the following statement shortly before noon:

"The Big Ten Conference announced today that it will be canceling the remainder of the Big Ten Men’s Basketball Tournament, effective immediately.
 
"The Big Ten Conference will use this time to work with the appropriate medical experts and institutional leadership to determine next steps for moving forward in regard to the COVID-19 pandemic.
 
"The main priority of the Big Ten Conference continues to be the health, safety and wellness of our student-athletes, coaches, administrators, fans and media as we continue to monitor all developing and relevant information on the COVID-19 virus."

The first two games of the tournament were held Wednesday night, featuring Northwestern against Minnesota and Nebraska against Indiana. Nebraska head coach Fred Hoiberg had to leave his team's game early with flu-like symptoms. 

With Thursday's news, the NCAA Tournament is now in serious jeopardy.