Virginia forced to withdraw from ACC Tournament after a positive COVID-19 test

GREENSBORO, N.C. (WTVD) -- The top-seeded team in the ACC Tournament is out following a positive COVID-19 test within the program.

Virginia beat Syracuse in the quarterfinals on a buzzer-beating 3-pointer, but they won't get a chance to play fourth-seeded Georgia Tech.

The Cavaliers were scheduled to play the Yellow Jackets on Friday evening, but because of the positive COVID-19 test, the Yellow Jackets will advance to the championship game on Saturday.

Statement from ACC Commissioner Jim Phillips:
"I'm heartbroken for our student-athletes, coaches and support staff at both Duke and Virginia. Our teams have worked incredibly hard and sacrificed so much throughout this season. We continue to be led by our ACC Medical Advisory Group and the protocols put in place that have allowed our teams to safely compete during the 2020-21 season. We will follow the lead of our medical personnel to ensure the health and safety of our programs remain the top priority. Our student-athletes and schools have been remarkable this entire season while enduring incredibly challenging circumstances."

Cavaliers coach Tony Bennett described the outcome of the tests as a "gut punch."

"I'm hurting for our players, especially our seniors," Bennett said in a statement. "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."

Virginia athletic director Carla Williams said in the statement the school was "in communication with the appropriate officials regarding our participation" in the NCAA tournament, which starts Thursday.

The Cavaliers become the second ACC team to drop out of the tournament because of a positive COVID-19 test.

The Duke Blue Devils pulled out after winning two games. Their COVID-19 struggles landed before a key matchup with second-seeded Florida State.

That resulted in the Seminoles getting a triple bye. They are scheduled to play their first ACC Tournament game Friday against North Carolina. The winner will advance to the finals to face Georgia Tech.

Duke's withdrawal from the ACC Tournament spelled the end of its season, as the team likely needed to win the entire tournament to get into the NCAA tournament.

That is not the case for Virginia. The Cavaliers are one of the top teams in the country.

"This whole year has been a lot different for everyone with the testing protocols, socially distancing, wearing masks, making sure you're not seeing people outside of your bubble really," Virginia guard Sam Hauser said after Thursday's win against Syracuse on a last-second shot. "Pretty proud of our guys. We were very disciplined throughout the year and continue to be, especially this time of the year when if you get a COVID bug like that, it could end your season. ... We're just going to continue to take the right protocols, and we should be all right."

According to ESPN, a team will need to show seven consecutive negative daily tests before arriving in Indianapolis for the NCAA tournament.
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