Conferences that place multiple teams in the tournament – such as the ACC and Big 12 are likely to be held – face an entirely different scenario if one of their schools withdraws. If a team from a conference with more than one school in the bracket will not participate in the tournament, the organizers will see four of college basketball’s designated replacement teams and give one a slot in the open position.
The bracket will be considered final at 6 pm Eastern time on Tuesday. If a school should be withdrawn at a later time, it will not be replaced and its planned opponent will move on its own.
Neither Duke, which struggled this season and finished 13-11, nor North Carolina A&T was considered a title contender. But absent April 5 by Kansas, Virginia or both could make a meaningful change towards the championship game.
Although Virginia (18-6) struggled with the virus in December, the team has been a defensive powerhouse. The Cavaliers were top seeded in the ACC tournament for the fifth time in eight seasons, nearly two years after winning their first national title.
That Kansas pulled out of the Big 12 tournament was less shocking; On Tuesday, the school announced that two players, including center David McCormack, would be sidelined for the tournament due to the virus protocol.
Kansas, which was the No. 2 seed in the Big 12 tournament, has set a 20-8 record this season, although it has lost to several ranked teams including Baylor, Gonzaga, Texas and West Virginia. The Jayhawks’ return on Friday moved Texas to the championship game of the Big 12 tournament, while Virginia’s exit allowed Georgia Tech to advance to the ACC competition.
Georgia Tech coach Josh Pester said his school did not consider dropping out of the ACC tournament on Friday afternoon, even though such a move would reduce his players’ risk of the virus. Two finalists, Florida State and Georgia Tech, are comfortably projected to appear in the NCAA tournament, as is North Carolina, which lost to Florida State on Friday night.