The Greensboro theory: Was the ACC Tournament a COVID-19 superspreader event?

Syracuse looks on with masks up and down in their game against Virginia in ACC Tournament.
Syracuse looks on with masks up and down in their game against Virginia in ACC Tournament.
Image: Getty Images

If multiple people from different areas are testing positive for COVID-19 after all being in the same places a week ago, shouldn’t the focus be on that particular place?

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If you haven’t noticed, all signs point to last week’s ACC Tournament in Greensboro, North Carolina possibly being a Petri dish. So far, three teams and two referees that were in Greensboro have become reasons why some serious questions need to be asked. Because at this point, it’s beyond a coincidence.

Duke

On March 11, the first anniversary of Rudy Gobert testing positive for COVID-19, Duke pulled out of the ACC tournament just hours before they were supposed to play Louisville in the quarterfinals. Reportedly, a walk-on tested positive, which led to an abrupt ending of their season.

By March 17, Duke’s program reportedly had 10 positive tests, with more possibly on the way. Duke didn’t have a single positive test all season until Greensboro.

Virginia

On March 12, a day after COVID sidelined Duke, Virginia pulled out of the ACC Tournament just hours before they were supposed to play Georgia Tech in the semifinals. According to CBS Sports’ Matt Norlander, the player that tested positive played in their previous game against Syracuse. To date, UVA has dealt with six cancelations/postponements due to COVID-19 this season.

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Referees

On March 15, six of college basketball’s top officials were sent home from Indianapolis due to a positive test, which resulted in contact tracing involving the others. Two of those men, Roger Ayers and Ted Valentine, were part of a group that went to dinner at Harry & Izzy’s Steakhouse in downtown Indianapolis when their hotel rooms weren’t ready.

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Ayers and Valentine both worked the ACC Tournament.

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Georgia Tech

On March 17, The Yellow Jackets found out that Moses Wright – their leading scorer and ACC’s Player of the Year – wouldn’t be available for their first NCAA Tournament game in over a decade, due to issues related to Covid. If Tech wins their first-round matchup with Loyola Chicago, there’s a chance that he also won’t be eligible to play in the second game.

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Tech won the ACC Tournament, in Greensboro, on March 13.

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At the beginning of the month, Deadspin asked, “What exactly are we doing here?” when it came to playing conference tournaments during a pandemic.

Don’t ever say we didn’t warn you.