Kansas' March Madness status unclear after positive COVID-19 test knocks it out of Big 12 tournament

Henry Bushnell
·2-min read

Kansas has withdrawn from the Big 12 men's basketball tournament, and its Friday semifinal against Texas has been canceled, after a positive COVID-19 test within the Jayhawks' program, the Big 12 announced Friday afternoon.

The individual who tested positive is reportedly one of the seven players who played in Kansas' quarterfinal victory over Oklahoma on Thursday.

As a result, Texas will advance to the Big 12 final via forfeit, and will face the winner of Friday's first (and now only) semifinal between Baylor and Oklahoma State.

Kansas' positive test comes three days after the school announced that two players, including second-leading scorer David McCormack, would miss the Big 12 tournament due to COVID-19 protocols. The team reportedly expected both to be available for the NCAA tournament.

Kansas is the third team to withdraw from a major conference tournament due to a positive COVID-19 test over the past 36 hours. Duke and Virginia have both pulled out of the ACC tournament.

Kansas coach Bill Self meets with players during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against West Virginia, Saturday, Feb. 6, 2021, in Morgantown, W.Va. (AP Photo/Kathleen Batten)
Kansas coach Bill Self meets with players during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against West Virginia, Saturday, Feb. 6, 2021, in Morgantown, W.Va. (AP Photo/Kathleen Batten)

Like in Virginia's case, Kansas' participation in the NCAA tournament – which begins next week – is suddenly up in the air. A variety of protocols and factors, including contact tracing and subsequent testing, will determine whether the Jayhawks can partake in March Madness.

If they can, at 20-8 overall and 13-6 in the Big 12, they'd likely be a top-four seed.

They'll remain in Kansas City, the site of the Big 12 tournament, and continue to follow the NCAA's daily testing protocols, the program said in a statement.

“We have followed the daily testing and additional protocols that have been setup for us, unfortunately we caught a bad break at the wrong time," head coach Bill Self said. "I look forward to preparing my team in probably a unique way for next week’s NCAA Tournament.”

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