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ASU basketball will face Rhode Island to replace Baylor game

Arizona State coach Bobby Hurley gestures to his team during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Oregon on Thursday, Feb. 28, 2019, in Eugene, Ore. (AP Photo/Chris Pietsch)

Arizona State will begin its men’s basketball season Wednesday against Rhode Island after the Sun Devils’ previously scheduled season opener against the No. 2 Baylor Bears was canceled because of coronavirus concerns.

The game takes place at 5:00 p.m. on ESPN.

Baylor head coach Scott Drew announced on Sunday he tested positive for COVID-19.

ASU opted out of the game. Villanova and Boston College, the other teams scheduled to tip off the season in Uncasville, Conn., for the 2K Empire Classic, did not want to play either Baylor or ASU had it played the Bears.

Instead, the Sun Devils flew to the East Coast on Monday and will now face Rhode Island, which was scheduled to play in the same venue, Mohegan Sun Arena, against Stephen F. Austin on Wednesday before playing Towson on Thursday.

Villanova will open the year against Boston College on Wednesday as scheduled. The winner will play the winner of the ASU-Rhode Island game, while the losers of each game would then play one another on Thursday.

For ASU, the opening matchup of 2020-21 comes against a program he’s familiar with. Hurley was an associate head coach under brother Danny Hurley at Rhode Island in 2012-13 before Bobby landed his first head-coaching gig at Buffalo the next season.

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