For the third time this week, and second time for the ACC, a team has been forced to drop out of its conference tournament. The latest is Virginia, a top-25 program that was slated to play Georgia Tech in the ACC Tournament semifinals.
But a positive COVID-19 test will keep the Cavaliers at home, the conference announced. They will join Duke, which needed to win the ACC Tourney for an invitation to the Big Dance but withdrew for the same reason earlier this week.
North Carolina A&T, the top seed in the MEAC Tourney, also withdrew this week.
All of this means it will be quite a year for the NCAA Tournament. Clearly, COVID fears remain, as even “contact tracing” will keep some deserving athletes at home.
Virginia’s situation, of course, is unique. The Cavaliers had the type of season that warrants an automatic bid to the NCAAs. They were the No. 1 seed in the ACC Tournament. Now, it’s anyone’s guess as to whether they will be cleared to be included when the NCAA Tourney games begin next Thursday.
“The cancellation follows a positive test, subsequent quarantining, and contact tracing within the Virginia men’s basketball program,” the ACC wrote in a statement. “The team is adhering to the outlined protocols within the ACC Medical Advisory Group report.”
Georgia Tech now advances to the ACC Championship Game to play the winner of Friday night’s Florida State vs. North Carolina game that will now tip at 8:30 p.m. EST.