Gerry Broome/Associated Press
The NCAA Division I men’s basketball tournament committee reportedly has included Kansas and Virginia in its latest iteration of the 68-team bracket Friday, per Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports, who noted that “plans are moving forward for both to be playing next week.”
KU and UVA both had to bow out of their respective conference tournaments after COVID-19 concerns.
A positive test within the KU program forced the Jayhawks out of the Big 12 tournament, where they were set to face Texas in the semifinals on Friday.
Virginia was set to face Georgia Tech in the ACC tournament semifinals on Friday but will no longer take part after a positive test within its program.
The Cavaliers became the second ACC team to leave the tournament after a positive test, with Duke doing the same on Thursday.
KU and UVA were both shoo-ins for the NCAA tournament even if neither won the conference tournament. Of note, Kansas is 11th in the latest NET rankings, and Virginia is 13th.
The 2021 Bracket Matrix, which aggregates bracket projections, has UVA as a No. 4 seed and Kansas sitting on the No. 3 line.
Neither team appears ready to call it a season. KU head coach Bill Self said in the team’s statement announcing the positive COVID-19 test that he was looking forward to “preparing my team in probably a unique way for next week’s NCAA tournament.”
Virginia head coach Tony Bennett said the Cavaliers are “exhausting all options to participate in the NCAA Tournament.”
ESPN’s Jeff Borzello explained the rules surrounding teams and their eligibility for the NCAA tournament amid the pandemic:
“To play in the NCAA tournament, a team needs to show seven consecutive negative daily tests before arriving in Indianapolis, then undergo daily testing while inside the controlled environment there.
“Dan Gavitt, NCAA senior vice president of men’s basketball, has also said that a team just needs five healthy players to play in an NCAA tournament game. If Virginia doesn’t have a widespread COVID-19 outbreak and the rest of the team continues to test negative, the Cavaliers should be eligible to play in the NCAA tournament.
“Saturday is the deadline for any team believing that it cannot meet the medical protocols to inform the Division I Men’s Basketball Committee.“
The first round of the NCAA tournament is slated to begin on Thursday and run through Friday evening.