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Utah basketball withdraws from season-opening tournament in South Dakota

Utah Utes head coach Larry Krystkowiak yells at the referee after the Utes were called for a blocking foul during the first round of the Pac-12 men’s basketball tournament at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on Wednesday, March 11, 2020.
FILE: Utah Utes head coach Larry Krystkowiak yells at the referee after the Utes were called for a blocking foul during the first round of the Pac-12 men’s basketball tournament at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on Wednesday, March 11, 2020.
Steve Griffin, Deseret News

The Utah Runnin’ Utes will be waiting even longer than anticipated to start their 2020-21 season.

Last Friday, multiple outlets reported that the Runnin’ Utes had withdrawn from the Bad Boy Mowers Crossover Classic in South Dakota, which is being held Nov. 25-27, because of rising COVID-19 case numbers in that state.

Then on Monday, the South Dakota Jackrabbits formally announced they had entered the field (CBS’ Matt Norlander first reported last Friday that they would). The Jackrabbits’ announcement indicates that the eight-team field still includes Creighton, Dayton, Memphis, Ohio State, Texas A&M, West Virginia and Wichita State.

Utah had been scheduled to open play Nov. 25 against Creighton. Before the pandemic threw the season into chaos, the tournament was going to be played as The Battle 4 Atlantis in The Bahamas.

As it stands now, the first game firmly on the Utes’ schedule is their Pac-12 Conference opener on Dec. 3 at home against the Washington Huskies. Pac-12 teams will play 20 conference games, and each team in the country will be allowed to play a maximum of 27 contests this season.