Update: The ACC announced just after noon today that the final three rounds of the ACC Tournament have been cancelled because of growing concerns about COVID-19. Clemson and Florida State were due to tip off at 12:30 pm ET.
It feels unlikely that the NCAA Tournament will go on, even in empty arenas, after the cancellation of nearly all conference tournaments. The situation around the country continues to escalate as the pandemic continues to spread throughout the United States. Most sports leagues have taken measures to cancel games or postpone the season until the virus is better under control.
The ACC announced Wednesday evening that the final three rounds of the conference’s tournament at the Greensboro Coliseum will be closed to spectators. UNC’s game against Syracuse on Tuesday night will be the final ACC game played in front of fans this season.
Other conferences have restricted access to their tournaments to team officials, credentialed media, and broadcasters in order to try and limit the public’s exposure to the coronavirus. Health authorities have strongly suggested limiting social interaction in big groups where exposure to infected persons might take place.
While the announcement undoubtedly comes as a disappointment to fans who purchased tickets for the event, the decision really is the right call. The United States is facing a pandemic that is growing by the day, and sporting events can be a real hazard to people’s health because of so many germs lingering in a confined space.
Playing in the Greensboro Coliseum was a huge boost to UNC on Tuesday. It felt like a home game for the Tar Heels, and the same will likely be true tonight. The rest of the tournament should feel pretty surreal for all involved without any crowds to speak of.
If Carolina is able to advance to tomorrow’s game, Tar Heel Blog will be there as credentialed media to cover how strange it will be to play in an empty arena.