Conferences around the NCAA are canceling their postseason basketball tournaments on Thursday due to the outbreak of coronavirus.
Over the course of an hour, news broke that notable leagues like the ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, SEC, Pac-12, Atlantic-10, Conference-USA, and American Athletic Conference canceled their tournaments, which provide automatic bids to the NCAA Tournament for the winners.
The Big East, however, continued its tournament on Thursday afternoon as St. John’s faced top-seeded Creighton in a nearly-empty Madison Square Garden at noon ET. The two teams played the first half before the Big East announced that the second half of the game and the remainder of the tournament was canceled.
Down in Greensboro, NC for the ACC Tournament, Florida State and Clemson players were on the floor preparing for a 12:30 p.m. ET game but left the floor moments before tip-off. The ACC announced the cancellation of its tournament shortly after.
The decisions further cast the NCAA Tournament’s play in doubt this month with Selection Sunday scheduled for the end of this week.
Should the dance remain on track, the regular-season champions of each conference whose tournaments were canceled would receive automatic bids.
The Ivy League was the first to suspend its tournament earlier this week, awarding its automatic bid to Yale.
For the larger leagues such as the ACC and Big Ten, the cancellation of the postseason tournaments won’t do much to affect its representation in this year’s hypothetical tournament.
However, mid-major leagues that only send one team to the tournament via its conference championship eliminates all parity.
On Wednesday, the NCAA announced that “March Madness” would be played in empty arenas due to coronavirus concerns.
That was before the NBA suspended its season after Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell of the Utah Jazz tested positive for the virus.