As the Omicron variant sweeps across the country, the daily lives of Americans have once again been altered. And just like last year, college basketball games have been cancelled or postponed. Some teams have gone on pauses lasting for up to a month, while other squads have played their games considerably short-handed.
The NCAA recently reinforced that the selection committee will handle COVID-19 absences just as they have handled injuries in the past. A sentence in a recent statement from the committee says it best: “Losses are still losses, and wins are still wins, but we will continue taking into consideration the absence of a coach or player, whether they are Covid-related or due to injury or suspension.”
In other words, we will review these situations as we always have. I do believe past committees have done an excellent job of judging teams based on the situation. A one- or two-game absence by a player really has a negligible effect, as there is no way to know if a team would have won with that player. Conversely, if a team loses its star for three weeks and struggles, but then plays at a high level when that player returns, it can be correctly assumed that the absence had a significant impact.
Based on last season, we do have examples of how the committee views teams who have had COVID — and the committee really didn’t put a huge amount of weight into those situations. In my opinion, that is again how the committee will evaluate those circumstances. If a team lays an egg coming off a long pause, that game may be excused. But the game or two missed by players or coaches will not have much of an effect on the overall seeding of a team, which is the way it should be.
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LAST FOUR IN: Texas A&M, TCU, Virginia, Saint Mary’s
FIRST FOUR OUT: Louisville, Saint Louis, UCF, Clemson
NEXT FOUR OUT: Vanderbilt, Michigan, Mississippi State, St. Bonaventure
CONFERENCES WITH MULTIPLE BIDS
Big Ten: 8
Big 12: 8