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Kansas, Virginia withdraw from conference tournaments due to COVID-19

March 12 (UPI) — The Kansas Jayhawks were forced to withdraw from the Big 12 Conference men’s basketball tournament after a positive COVID-19 test within the program, the school announced Friday.

The Jayhawks were scheduled to play Texas in the Big 12 semifinals Friday. The Longhorns will now advance to the championship game to play Oklahoma State, who upset Baylor on Friday night.

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Kansas will remain in Kansas City and continue to be tested each day in accordance with NCAA tournament protocols.

“Obviously we are disappointed and our players are disappointed that they can’t continue to compete for the Big 12 championship,” Jayhawks head coach Bill Self said in a statement. “While we have been fortunate to avoid this throughout the season, there are daily risks with this virus that everybody participating is trying to avoid.

“We have followed the daily testing and additional protocols that have been set up for us, unfortunately we caught a bad break at the wrong time. I look forward to preparing my team in probably a unique way for next week’s NCAA tournament.”

Earlier Friday, the Virginia Cavaliers pulled out of the ACC tournament after a positive coronavirus test in their men’s basketball program.

The Cavaliers were set to play Georgia Tech in the ACC semifinals on Friday evening after beating Syracuse in the quarterfinals.

“We went from an exhilarating game-winning shot to beat Syracuse to a gut punch regarding the positive COVID-19 test within our program,” Virginia head coach Tony Bennett said in a news release. “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. We are exhausting all options to participate in the NCAA tournament.”

Georgia Tech will now move on to the ACC title game. The Yellow Jackets will play either Florida State or North Carolina on Saturday in that championship matchup.

Kansas and Virginia are the latest teams to withdraw from a conference tournament because of COVID-19 issues. Earlier this week, Duke pulled out of the ACC tournament, while North Carolina A&T had to remove itself from the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference tournament.

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