Sunday selection a unveiled the final of the 68 teams field for the 2021 NCAA tournament. And, as tradition has it, there were several teams that not only were disappointed with the seeds, but were also left out of the range altogether.
Enter Louisville, Colorado State, Saint Louis and Ole Miss – the top four teams in March Madness.
And yet, a ray of hope for these teams still exists to participate in the NCAA tournament: under the new organization rules, one of these four teams could replace a team linked to the tournament if the latter cannot. play due to COVID-19 issues. But it is not that simple.
Here’s everything you need to know about how Louisville, Colorado State, Saint Louis, and Ole Miss can still go wild in March even though they weren’t selected for the 2021 NCAA Tournament:
NCAA Tournament COVID-19 Protocols
NCAA February 25 published several protocols to replace teams that cannot play in March Madness due to COVID-19 issues. In particular, the first four teams withdrawn can still enter if a multi-nominee league has a team withdraw before 6 p.m. ET Tuesday. Single-entry conferences will select which replacement teams opt out, as the NCAA wants as many conferences as possible to be represented (the Ivy League will not participate).
If a team retires after this deadline, no replacement team will be selected; the tournament match will be judged without competition and the team that is able to play will advance. But if a team retires before that, the NCAA will select Louisville, Colorado State, Saint Louis, and Ole Miss in the following order:
- Colorado State
- Saint Louis
- Be Miss
It means the Cardinals – one of the the most notable snubs of the NCAA Tournament – have first priority to go crazy in March if a team backs down before Tuesday’s deadline.
The teams likely to be replaced are Kansas and Virginia, who both left their respective conference tournaments with COVID-19 positive. Both teams expressed confidence in their ability to compete in March Madness, and neither team contacted the NCAA before Saturday’s 11 p.m. ET deadline to advise the organization that they would not meet their criteria for to play.
The 11 p.m. deadline has passed and no team has contacted the NCAA Men’s Basketball Selection Committee to opt out of the NCAA tournament review. So that means Kansas and Virginia both expect to be selected and play next week after having to give up games this week.
– Andy Katz (@TheAndyKatz) March 14, 2021
Either way, Louisville, Colorado State, Saint Louis and Ole Miss will be waiting for a word from the NCAA on whether they have been selected to participate in the tournament. During this time, said teams must have a minimum of five players producing seven consecutive days of negative COVID-19 tests. Otherwise, they will not be eligible.
If none of the top four eliminated teams make it to the NCAA tournament, they will be considered seed 1s in the 2021 NIT tournament. It should be noted, however, that Louisville has already informed the NIT that they would not participate – which means his 2020-21 basketball future depends entirely on his ability to squeeze into the NCAA tournament.