COVID-19 Knocks Kansas Out Big 12 Basketball Tourney, Texas in Finals
Jayhawks down. The #11 Kansas Jayhawks became the fourth major college basketball program in the last 24 hours, and the first Big 12 team, to prematurely exit from their conference tournament due to a positive COVID-19 test from a player. Kansas and Texas were scheduled to meet semifinals of the Philips 66 Big 12 Tournament. However, with Kansas out, Texas gets an automatic spot in the conference finals on Saturday.
Yesterday in the Big 12 quarterfinals, Kansas knocked out #25 Oklahoma with a 69-62 victory and advanced to the semifinals. Tomorrow night, #13 Texas will meet the winner of #2 Baylor vs. #12 Oklahoma State at the T-Mobile Center in Kansas City.
School officials did not release the name of the Kansas player who tested positive.
“Obviously we are disappointed and our players are disappointed that they can’t continue to compete for the Big 12 championship,” said Kansas head coach Bill Self. “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.”
Kansas followed health and safety measures to contain the spread at the Big 12 tournament and avoid a full-blown COVID-19 outbreak. If any players must quarantine due to contract tracing, Kansas hopes they’ll be eligible to play in the opening round of March Madness.
“I look forward to preparing my team in probably a unique way for next week’s NCAA Tournament,” added Self.
Kansas is +3000 odds to win 2021 Mach Madness, according to the last update by the Westgate SuperBook in Las Vegas.
Due to a positive COVID-19 test this morning within #KUbball, the Jayhawks have withdrawn from the 2021 Big 12 Men’s Basketball Championship.
— Kansas Basketball (@KUHoops) March 12, 2021
Losing McCormack, Jayhawks Shaky Season
After starting the season 8-1, Kansas staggered through a difficult 10-game stretch. Kansas went 4-6, including three losses in a row. They tumbled out of the AP Top 25 since 2008. Kansas played some of their best basketball in February after they weathered the January doldrums. They regained their confidence back and returned to the Top 25.
Since February began, Kansas went 9-2 highlighted by a huge upset with a 13-point win over undefeated #2 Baylor. The Jayhawks handed Baylor their first loss of the season. Kansas clawed their way to #11 in the country, according to the last AP Poll.
After suffering a devastating loss to Texas in overtime last week, Kansas was itching for revenge against the Longhorns in the Big 12 conference tournament semifinals.
David McCormack and Tristan Enaruna did not travel with Kansas to the Big 12 tournament. They missed the Big 12 tournament due to contract tracing. McCormack, a 6-foot-10 junior, averages 13.4 points and 6.1 rebounds as the Jayhawks’ starting center. He’s the team’s second-best scorer and second-best rebounded. Enaruna, a sophomore swingman from the Netherlands, averages 2.8 points in 9.4 minutes per game off the bench.
Sources said the player who tested positive for COVID-19 traveled with the team to the Big 12 tournament in Kansas City.
Duke, Kansas, North Carolina A&T, and Now… Kansas
On Thursday, Duke pulled out of the ACC tournament when a player tested positive for COVID-19. Duke missed their quarterfinals matchup against Florida State. Duke was on the bubble for March Madness, so they probably would’ve missed the tournament anyway.
On Friday, Virginia became the second team to withdraw from the ACC. Virginia was the #1 seed too and was scheduled to play Georgia Tech in the semifinals. Virginia, ranked #16 in the nation, was projected to land the #3 seed.
On Thursday, North Carolina A&T pulled out of the MEAC conference tournament. They were the #1 seed and will not have a shot at winning an automatic berth to 2021 March Madness.