Drake Bulldogs reach MVC mens basketball semifinals after game vs. Northern Iowa Panthers canceled – ESPN

Friday’s Missouri Valley Conference quarterfinal men’s basketball game between Drake and Northern Iowa was canceled, the league announced.

Drake, currently on the bubble for the NCAA tournament, automatically advanced to the semifinals in St. Louis.

The league tweeted its announcement, later saying that Northern Iowa had a positive test result found Thursday night among Tier I personnel, which consists of student-athletes, coaches, managers and staff. Subsequent contract tracing left them without enough players to compete Friday.

It’s a particularly notable decision due to Drake’s status on the bubble. The Bulldogs, the 2-seeds in the conference tournament, entered Friday as one of the “Last Four Byes” in Joe Lunardi’s latest bracket, with the ESPN analyst saying Drake needed to win Friday’s quarterfinal and likely Saturday’s semifinal to remain in the at-large discussion.

The Bulldogs will face the Missouri State-Valparaiso winner in a Saturday semifinal.

It marked the second conference tournament forfeit of the week; Holy Cross was forced to bow out of the Patriot League tournament due to COVID issues, which allowed Loyola Maryland to advance. Jacksonville and Charleston Southern were also forced to miss their conference tournaments due to COVID issues.