Oregon and VCU had their Round of 64 game declared a no-contest by the NCAA due to positive COVID tests within the VCU program, leading to the Ducks advancing to the next round.
Unlike in years past, the NCAA Tournament is emanating from one state. Indiana is the host of the 2021 March Madness tournament as a way to limit travel in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. Even with the bubbled environment, one matchup will not take place as scheduled.
The NCAA announced on Saturday that the first-round matchup between No. 7 Oregon and No. 10 VCU has officially been ruled a no-contest due to COVID-19 protocols surrounding the latter team.
As a result, Oregon has advanced to the Round of 32.
VCU eliminated from NCAA Tournament due to COVID-19 protocols
According to Matt Norlander of CBS Sports, VCU received its first positive COVID-19 test on Wednesday and gained two more on Friday. After consultation between the NCAA and Marion County health officials, it was decided that putting the Rams on the court was too much of a risk. Hence why the matchup was canceled and Oregon advanced.
“We’ve been tested every day for the past three weeks, but within the past 48 hours we’ve received multiple positive tests,” said VCU head coach Mike Rhoades in a statement. “We are devastated for our players and coaches. It has been a dream for all of us to play in the NCAA Tournament.”
The NCAA had a plan in place in case a team couldn’t play due to COVID-19 issues. If a team were unable to play, a designated team was set to replace them. Those teams were Ole Miss, Louisville, Colorado State and St. Louis. However, that plan was in effect until the Tuesday deadline, which was two days prior to the start of the tournament. No teams reported any issues, and thus no replacement teams were needed. With the deadline passing, if any team has to step aside in the tournament, their opponent will advance via a no-contest.
VCU finished their regular season with a 19-7 record and reached the finals of the Atlantic 10 Conference Tournament, where they lost 74-65 to St. Bonaventure. Their chance to redeem themselves in the NCAA Tournament, unfortunately, won’t happen.
As for Oregon, they will now face the winner of No. 2 Iowa and No. 15 Grand Canyon on Monday.
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