Conferences that place multiple teams in the tournament – such as the ACC and Big 12’s – are likely to face a completely different scenario if one of their schools withdraws. If a conference team with more than one school in the bracket will not participate in the tournament, the organizers will see four designated replacement teams from college basketball 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 must withdraw at any later time, it will not be replaced and its planned opponent will automatically proceed.
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 in the direction of the championship game.
Although Virginia (18-6) struggled with the virus in December, the team has been a defensive powerhouse. Nearly two years after the Cavaliers won their first national title, they were top seeded in the ACC tournament for the fifth time in eight seasons.
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 a 20-8 record this season, although it has lost to only a few 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 Pasner said his school did not consider exiting 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.