Michigan Wolverines men's basketball extends pause as game vs. Illinois postponed

Michigan men's basketball has postponed Thursday's game against Illinois, extending the program's two-week pause.

It's the fifth consecutive game that Michigan, a top seed in ESPN's Joe Lunardi's latest bracketology, will miss.

According to a statement Saturday from Michigan, Illinois and the Big Ten, the game is being postponed due to "return-to-play planning." The Wolverines said they "expect" to return for their Valentine's Day matchup at Wisconsin on Feb. 14.

Last month, the state's department of health and human services closed Michigan's athletic facilities, paused competitions and practices for every team and required every player, coach and staffer to quarantine for 14 days amid growing concerns about a new strain of the coronavirus.

Juwan Howard's team, 13-1, had just returned from a 70-53 win at Purdue when the school announced the decision.

Michigan has missed games against Penn State, Indiana, Northwestern, Michigan State and now Illinois. The latter would have been a key matchup in a tight race for the Big Ten title and the competition for a high seed in the one-site NCAA tournament in Indianapolis.

When the school announced its pause in January, it also said that it did not know the status of any games beyond the 14 days.