N.C.A.A. Quietly Eases a Virus Safety Rule for Tournament

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“It’s good that we’re not playing until Saturday because we need practice time,” Pitino said. With Alabama being “bigger, quicker, faster, more experienced,” Pitino said, “the more practice we get, the better off we are.”

Nate Oats, Alabama’s coach, said Sunday that he did not anticipate that his team would practice until at least Tuesday.

“They’ll be in their rooms,” Oats said of the Crimson Tide’s plan for Monday. “They’ll have their iPads, laptops. We’ll get all the video loaded up they can look at their own. We’ll reconvene Tuesday.”

The N.C.A.A.’s ambitious plan to host the men’s basketball tournament, an event more crucial than any other to the association’s finances, has been under scrutiny for months, and some public health experts have sharply questioned the decision to allow spectators. In recent days, the association has grappled with whether two of college basketball’s most prominent programs, Kansas and Virginia, should play in the tournament despite recent virus cases.

Kansas, the No. 3 seed in the West region after it had to pull out of the Big 12 tournament, planned to travel to Indiana on Monday without three people. Coach Bill Self said, though, that he expected those people to join the team later in the week.

“We think we’re — you know, knock on wood — in as good a shape as we can be in,” Self said.

But at Virginia, the fourth seed in the West, Coach Tony Bennett said Sunday night that “the majority” of the team was in quarantine because of contact tracing after a positive test forced the Cavaliers to exit the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament on Friday.

“We’ll be using Zoom a lot,” said Bennett, who led Virginia to a national title in 2019. “It’s certainly a unique way to prepare for the N.C.A.A. tournament, but I’m thankful that the N.C.A.A. gave our young men the chance.”

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