The Loop

Harvard basketball becomes first team to get officially hosed by the Coronavirus

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: NOV 28 Orlando Invitational - Texas A&M v Harvard

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Whether you think it's an actual disease or a global conspiracy perpetrated by the shadowy Lizard Person Conglomerate, one thing is certain: The Coronavirus—AKA COVID-19, AKA The Corona—is here to stay. Over the next few weeks, chances are it's going to upend some pretty significant portions of your life, including, potentially, a little thing called March Madness. In fact, the upheaval has already begun.

On Tuesday, discarding previous notions that conference tournaments, and even the NCAA Tournament itself, might be played without fans in the stands, the Ivy League cancelled both their men's and women's tournaments outright. It was a big step in confirming the Coronavirus as definitely a real thing and perhaps an unsettling bit foreshadowing ahead of next week's anticipated tourney tipoff, but there was a tertiary effect as well: Yale men's basketball, as the regular season Ivy League champs, got a free pass of the ol' Monopoly Go square, booking the Ivy League's sole automatic berth in the NCAA Tournament on a pandemic-related technicality.

But Yale's gain proved to be another Ivy League contender's loss and that team, much to the pleasure of Bulldogs fans across the world, was none other than arch rivals Harvard. The Crimson—an NCAA tournament fixture from 2012-2015, including memorable second-round upsets of both new Mexico and Cincinnati—are currently one game behind Yale in the conference standings, beat the Bulldogs twice during the regular season, and (AND!) were set to host the Ivy League tourney this year. In other words, the decision by the Ivy League to cancel their conference tournament on Tuesday makes Harvard men's basketball the first team to be officially SBTCd (Screwed by the Coronavirus).

Can you imagine if Ohio State vs. Michigan got cancelled because of a virus and Michigan got a berth to the College Football Playoff (unrealistic, but just go with us here) instead of Ohio State because of it? There would be blood in the streets. This is like that, only with better GPAs.

Therein lies the one remaining glimmer of hope for Crimson fans: If anyone can figure out how to cure this thing by next Tuesday, it's Harvard.