Report: Duke, Kansas, Virginia Cleared for NCAA Tournament Despite COVID Issues

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistMarch 14, 2021

Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski watches the action during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Louisville in the second round of the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament in Greensboro, N.C., Wednesday, March 10, 2021. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
Gerry Broome/Associated Press

The Duke, Virginia and Kansas men's basketball teams were all forced to withdraw from their conference tournaments because of positive COVID-19 tests, but all three will be eligible to compete in the NCAA tournament, according to Mark Schlabach of ESPN.

The NCAA selection committee gave teams until 11 p.m. ET on Saturday to withdraw from consideration, but no teams said they couldn't meet the required protocols.

Teams are only required to have five healthy players to compete in postseason play.

Duke withdrew from the ACC tournament after canceling its quarterfinal game against Florida State. In the school's statement, athletic director Kevin White initially said the decision "will end our 2020-21 season."

At 13-11, the Blue Devils are unlikely to earn an at-large bid but will still at least be considered.

Kansas and Virginia have a much stronger chance of earning a spot in the tournament field after impressive regular seasons. According to Bracket Matrix, Kansas is projected to be a No. 3 seed while Virginia would be a No. 4.

There has been significant concern for the Jayhawks, who already held two players out of the Big 12 tournament as a result of COVID-19 protocols and had a new positive test after facing Oklahoma. Head coach Bill Self still remained confident his team would be able to compete for a national championship.

"We have followed the daily testing and additional protocols that have been set up for us, unfortunately we caught a bad break at the wrong time," Self said in a statement. "I look forward to preparing my team in probably a unique way for next week's NCAA tournament."

These teams will still be required to clear protocols but should at least be in the field of 68.

The last four teams that don't make the NCAA tournament field will serve as alternates in case one team is forced to withdraw.