Covid concerns aside, Tigers ready to tip off season in Sioux Falls


PORTLAND, OREGON – NOVEMBER 12: D.J. Jeffries #0 of the Memphis Tigers drives to the basket on Francis Okoro #33 of the Oregon Ducks during the first half of the game at Moda Center on November 12, 2019 in Portland, Oregon. (Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images)

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — With the college basketball season tipping off on Wednesday, Wichita State is.the latest team to pull out of the Tigers’ season opening event, the Crossover Classic.

But unlike Duke, Ohio State, Utah, Dayton, Texas A&M or Creighton, the Shockers actually made it all the way to Sioux Falls Monday night before positive covid tests forced Wichita State to withdraw.

No such problems for Penny Hardaway and the Tigers, who touched down in South Dakota on Monday and passed their covid tests so their game with Saint Mary’s Wednesday…is on.

For all the covid issues in South Dakota, of which there are many, Hardaway doesn’t seem overly concerned and actually excited to get a chance to play while many others are not.

“Now that you see the system and how they have everyone kind of sectioned off in their own little space, their own area.  Everyone is wearing masks so no.  The tournament’s done a great job with how they’ve set it up so we’re not walking around on pins and needles,” Hardaway said.  “Nine months ago, canceling conference tournaments.  Canceling the NCAA Tournament and not knowing if we were going to have a season.  To be here right now.  To be able to play a game, especially with tournaments around the country being canceled because of COVID situations, we’re definitely fortunate to be here.”

But not everyone made the trip for the Tigers.

Hardaway announcing that newcomer Ahmad Rand is not with the team in Sioux Falls because of contact tracing.

Tigers and Saint Mary’s tip off the season Wednesday at 1 p.m.

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