The NCAA Tournament has a specific challenge this related to COVID-19, specifically what to do with teams that have positive tests before they’re able to compete in March Madness.
With teams that have absolutely earned top berth in the event such as Kansas and Virginia being forced to withdraw from their conference tournaments, how will the NCAA handle such situations if that happens in the NCAA Tournament “bubble” in Indianapolis?
Here’s the protocol for teams that have COVID-19 issues.
All schools will have to pass seven days worth of COVID-19 testing before flying to Indiana to participate in the tournament. For Kansas and Virginia, it might mean having to stay on campus and practice until the last minute and flying chartered aircraft directly to their games. But since neither team withdrew from the event as of Saturday evening at 11 p.m., they will receive normal consideration from the committee to participate in March Madness.
On Tuesday at 6 p.m., the bracket “locks” and and any team that can’t go forward would be replaced by a “standby” team that won’t fly to Indiana until the last minute if needed. Those standby teams will be flying somewhere however, as they’ll be No. 1 seeds in the NIT in the Dallas area if they are a replacement for an NCAA Tournament team.
If a team is forced to withdraw due to positive COVID-19 tests after Tuesday at 6:00 p.m., their opponent will be the “winner” and advance in the bracket as if a game was played.
As far as the Duke Blue Devils, they voluntarily shut down their season after leaving the ACC Tournament due to COVID-19, but then started making noises about backpedaling and choosing to play if they were selected as a standby team. With a 13-11 record and a 9-9 mark in the ACC, their resume isn’t under consideration to join the main field. But it’s theoretically possible Duke would be considered as an NIT No. 1 seed/Standby team.
For now, they’ll be seeded if the committee chooses to put them there, however their resume isn’t strong enough for even “First Four Out” consideration according to our bracketologists at DK Nation.