Positive COVID-19 test forces UVA out of ACC Tournament

Positive COVID-19 test forces UVA out of ACC Tournament
Virginia Head Coach Tony Bennett during the first half Jan 16, 2021; Clemson, South Carolina, USA; at Littlejohn Coliseum. (Ken Ruinard-USA TODAY Sports) (Source: ACC)

GREENSBORO, NC (WWBT) - A positive COVID-19 test within the Virginia basketball program has forced the cancellation of Friday’s ACC semifinal between the Cavaliers and Georgia Tech.

“The cancellation follows a positive test, subsequent quarantining, and contact tracing within the Virginia men’s basketball program. The team is adhering to the outlined protocols within the ACC Medical Advisory Group report,” the conference said in a release.

CBS Sports is reporting that the positive test comes from a player who took part in Thursday’s quarterfinal win over Syracuse.

“We went from an exhilarating game-winning shot to beat Syracuse to a gut punch regarding the positive COVID-19 test within our program. I’m hurting for our players, especially our seniors. I told our young men they have every reason to be disappointed, but it is still very important how they choose to respond,” said UVA head coach Tony Bennett. “We are exhausting all options to participate in the NCAA Tournament.”

Will this endanger Virginia’s NCAA Tournament showing? That remains to be seen, but NCAA protocols mandate that all Tier 1 team members post seven consecutive days of negative testing prior to arriving in Indianapolis for the event.

Tier 1 personnel includes players, coaching staff, athletic trainers, physical therapists, medical staff, equipment staff and officials.

This is not the first time coronavirus has impacted Virginia’s season.

The Cavaliers endured a pause back in December that forced the cancellation of games with Michigan State and Villanova. Their scheduled contest against Virginia Tech on January 2 was also called off.

Virginia boasts a record of 18-6 and is projected by ESPN to be a No. 4 seed in the NCAA Tournament. The Cavaliers won the ACC regular-season title and entered the league tournament as the conference’s top seed. They had defeated today’s opponent, Georgia Tech, twice during the regular season.

“This is incredibly disappointing for our players,” said Carla Williams, Virginia Director of Athletics. “They have done what has been asked of them in very challenging circumstances. It is unfortunate the ACC Tournament has concluded for us, but we have turned our attention to the NCAA Tournament. We are in communication with the appropriate officials regarding our participation.”

UVA is the second team to withdraw from the ACC’s annual playoff due to COVID-19. Duke was forced out of the tournament on Thursday after a positive test among Tier 1 personnel. The Blue Devils had won their first two tournament games but decided to end their season and not pursue any postseason opportunities following their ACC exit. This will snap Duke’s streak of 24 consecutive NCAA Tournaments.

The Yellow Jackets move onto Saturday’s ACC Championship Game, where they will face the winner of Florida State and North Carolina State.

Most major conference tournaments are all taking place this week. The Big 12 is also seeing COVID-19 issues, as Kansas has withdrawn after a positive test on Friday. The Atlantic 10 made the decision to move the bulk of its tournament up one week to give teams some cushion in the event of any coronavirus issues. North Carolina A&T, which was the MEAC’s top seed and favorite, was also forced to withdraw from its league playoff and end its season due to COVID-19.

This is a developing story that we will continue to update with the latest information.

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