All teams, of course, have been trying to keep the virus at bay. Ironically, teams that have been fortunate or vigilant — or both — have in recent weeks been paying a price for their success. Duke, which dropped out of the A.C.C. tournament — ending its hopes of winning its way into the N.C.A.A. tournament — did so after its first positive test of the season. Other teams, like Iona, which has had 10 players and two coaches (including Rick Pitino) contract the virus in the last three months have had fewer worries.
V.C.U. had been able to play 26 games with only a two-day interruption in early January.
“I hate to say this — I don’t think pauses are good, but they may be blessings in disguise that the pauses occur to better ensure you have a healthy N.C.A.A. tournament,” Self said.
The Jayhawks had plenty of anxious moments against Eastern Washington. McCormack, who Self had hoped to limit to 7-10 minutes per half, began the game on the bench. Two minutes into the game, Self called a timeout to send him into the game with Kansas down, 9-0.
The Jayhawks trailed by 10 in the second half, then won with an enormous contribution from McCormack, who scored 22 points, including the Jayhawks first 8 points after halftime. Kansas will have to get past Southern California on Monday in order to get Wilson to return.
Self said a team mantra is that they always have enough, but “I’m not sure it is to go deep in the tournament; we need to have our full complement of guys.”
That was a crushing lesson for Georgia Tech the day before.
Georgia Tech Coach Josh Pastner was in tears in the locker room after his team’s 71-60 loss to Loyola-Chicago on Friday. The Yellow Jackets celebrated an Atlantic Coast Conference championship last Saturday night, sealing their first N.C.A.A. tournament berth since 2010. The next day, they learned that their anchor, Wright, had tested positive for the virus, making them the third team in the conference to have a positive test. Wright traveled separately to Indianapolis this week but was under quarantine. His teammate, Jose Alvarado, wore his No. 5 uniform.
“I can’t even express the pressure and the swing of high to low. It was overwhelming at times because you don’t…,” Pastner said, his voice trailing off.