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College basketball: Virginia in quarantine, to arrive late for NCAA tourney

College basketball: Virginia in quarantine, to arrive late for NCAA tourney
Virginia men's basketball coach Tony Bennett said Sunday that most of the Cavaliers players are in quarantine because a person within the program tested positive for COVID-19. File Photo by Bryan Woolston/UPI | License Photo

March 15 (UPI) -- Most players on the Virginia men's basketball team are in quarantine for COVID-19 and the Cavaliers don't plan to arrive in Indianapolis for the NCAA tournament until Friday, just a day before their first-round matchup.

The Cavaliers were selected Sunday as a No. 4 seed in the 2021 NCAA Division I men's basketball tournament and face No. 13 Ohio on Saturday in Bloomington, Ind.

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The Cavaliers withdrew from the ACC tournament Friday because of a positive COVID-19 test within the men's basketball program. Cavaliers coach Tony Bennett updated his team's status Sunday at a news conference. He also met with players in a Zoom video conference during the Selection Sunday tournament draw broadcast Sunday on CBS.

"Right now, the majority of our team is contact traced and in quarantine because of the positive case that happened after the Syracuse game [Thursday]," Bennett said. "We are going to keep testing daily. Our medical people are working with the NCAA to follow every protocol. The timing is never a good time to have it. This is not ideal.

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"If we were going to have it, we took it to about the last day you could have a positive case [and be in the tournament]. Our quarantine is until Thursday. We will travel as a team to Indianapolis on Friday and go from there."

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The Cavaliers (18-6) are ranked No. 15 in the coaches poll. They won their final two games of the regular season and beat Syracuse in the first round of the ACC tournament.

"This is a unique way to prepare for the NCAA tournament, but I'm thankful the NCAA gave our young men the chance to get into this tournament," Bennett said.

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The majority of the 2021 Division I men's basketball tournament will be played in the Indianapolis area to limit exposure to and the potential spread of COVID-19.

In Indianapolis, tournament games will be played at Lucas Oil Stadium, Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Hinkle Fieldhouse, and Indiana Farmers Coliseum. Mackey Arena in West Lafayette and Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall in Bloomington also will host games.

Tournament teams cannot be reseeded and the bracket cannot change. Each participating conference will have the opportunity for at least one team in the championship field.

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Replacement teams -- for teams forced to withdraw -- can only be introduced within 48 hours after the tournament fields are announced. The NCAA said those replacement teams must be "among the best teams [that were] considered for an at-large bid."

The Cavaliers battle Ohio at 7:15 p.m. EDT Saturday in Bloomington.

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