Texas advances to Big 12 title game with COVID-19 forcing Kansas out

KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI - MARCH 11: Kai Jones #22 of the Texas Longhorns battles Kevin McCullar #15 and Terrence Shannon Jr. #1 of the Texas Tech Red Raiders for a rebound during the quarterfinal game of the Big 12 basketball tournament at the T-Mobile Center on March 11, 2021 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images) (Jamie Squire, 2021 Getty Images)

With COVID-19 forcing Kansas out of the Big 12 Tournament, Texas automatically lands a spot in the Big 12 Men’s Basketball Tournament Championship game.

Official platforms for Kansas men’s basketball announced a positive test within the University of Kansas program for COVID-19 on Friday morning and that, as a result, the school had withdrawn from the tournament, effectively canceling their previously-scheduled Friday night semifinal tilt with Texas.

“Obviously we are disappointed and our players are disappointed that they can’t continue to compete for the Big 12 Championship,” Kansas head coach Bill Self said in the school’s official press release. “While we have been fortunate to avoid this throughout the season, there are daily risks with this virus that everybody participating is trying to avoid. We have followed the daily testing and additional protocols that have been setup for us, unfortunately we caught a bad break at the wrong time. I look forward to preparing my team in probably a unique way for next week’s NCAA Tournament.”

Texas will now play in the Big 12 Men’s Basketball Championship to be played Saturday against either Baylor or Oklahoma State.

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Born in Canada but raised in Houston, Howard joined KPRC 2 in 2021 after five years at ESPN. Before that, Howard was a reporter on Houston Rockets and Houston Astros game broadcasts. Among the events that Howard has covered on site: the NBA bubble and the Basketball Hall of Fame inductions for both Yao Ming and Tracy McGrady. He's H-town proud!