NCAA College Basketball

March Madness 2020: NCAA Tournament canceled because of coronavirus after 2 top teams sidelined (UPDATE)


UPDATE (4:26 p.m.): The NCAA officially canceled all winter and spring championships. Read more about that here.

It appears increasingly likely there will be no shining moments.

Duke University has shut down all athletics, including its nationally-ranked men’s basketball team, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. And with conference tournaments being canceled from coast to coast, how long before the NCAA pulls the plug on the Division I men’s basketball tournament? Especially if one of the marquee teams will not participate? It would be the first time the tournament has been canceled in its 81-year history, as the NCAA still held the event during World War II.

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The University of Kansas quickly followed suit.

NCAA president Mark Emmert announced Wednesday that fans will be restricted from attending upcoming championship events, including the Division I men’s basketball tournament.

Utah Jazz forward Rudy Gobert tested positive for the coronavirus shortly before tipoff against the Oklahoma City Thunder that night. As a result, the NBA suspended its season. The NHL, MLS and MLB have since followed suit.

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If the tournament is canceled it would bring about an abrupt end to the 2019-20 college basketball season – one that was particularly fruitful for the state of New Jersey’s most prominent programs.

Rutgers is expected to make its first appearance in the tournament since 1991, while Seton Hall has Final Four aspirations and is a dark horse to win the national championship. Monmouth, Saint Peter’s and Rider are all in contention for the MAAC’s automatic bid to the tournament.

Princeton was also expected to be a bid contender in the Ivy League Tournament until that conference event was canceled – one of the first significant sporting events in the country to be wiped out by concern about the virus.

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