From the second the 2021 NCAA Tournament bracket was released, college hoops fans had Oregon-VCU circled as a toss-up. Fast forward to Saturday night, the Rams have been knocked out of the Big Dance, but not because they lost to the Ducks.
No. 10 seed VCU (19-7, 10-4), the Atlantic 10’s runner-up, withdrew from the 2021 NCAA Tournament Saturday due to several positive COVID tests within the program. The first positive came to light Wednesday, followed by two more on Friday. Health officials ultimately ruled it was too risky to allow VCU to take on the Ducks Saturday night.
This is a devastating series of events surrounding VCU basketball. The Rams earned their way into the tourney for the right to take on Oregon. Instead, VCU is out before even taking the court in Indianapolis.
Oregon head coach Dana Altman released a statement to address Saturday night’s game’s cancellation.
“During these challenging times, health and safety is the highest priority,” Altman said, via Oregon men’s basketball. “We would like to wish the VCU student-athletes and staff all the best, and congratulate them on an outstanding season. We hate to see a team’s season end this way after all the hard work these student-athletes have put in. This isn’t the way we wanted to advance, but we are excited to be moving on and we will start our preparation for Monday’s game.”
— Oregon Men's Basketball (@OregonMBB) March 20, 2021
This obviously isn’t how the Oregon Ducks would’ve liked to advance, but there’s nothing they can do about it now.
In this year’s 2021 NCAA Tournament, the added level of difficulty related to the pandemic makes nothing guaranteed. All the Ducks can do now is adapt and prepare for their second-round opponent.
No. 7 seed Oregon will play the winner of Iowa-Grand Canyon on Monday.