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2020 NCAA Tournament canceled

The Illini’s NCAA Tournament drought will last a bit longer.

NCAA Basketball: Big Ten Tournament-Nebraska vs Indiana Thomas J. Russo-USA TODAY Sports

Illinois’ NCAA Tournament drought will last a bit longer.

In a season where Illinois is a lock to participate in March Madness, the 2020 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament has been canceled due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

The Big Ten Conference cancelled its conference tournament Wednesday morning, as did a number of other major college basketball conference.

In a statement, the Big Ten said: “The Big Ten Conference will use this time to work with the appropriate medical experts and institutional leadership to determine next steps for moving forward in regard to the COVID-19 pandemic. The main priority of the Big Ten Conference continues to be the health, safety and wellness of our student-athletes, coaches, administrators, fans and media as we continue to monitor all developing and relevant information on the COVID-19 virus.”

Illinois’ season tentatively ends one day before the team was slated to play the winner of Minnesota and Iowa in the Big Ten Tournament quarterfinals. Illinois (21-10, 13-7 Big Ten) was on pace to be selected for next week’s tournament during Sunday’s Selection Show on CBS.

The National Basketball Association announced it is suspending its season Wednesday night after Utah Jazz players Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell tested positive for coronavirus. Earlier on Wednesday, the NCAA announced that the 2020 Men’s and Women’s NCAA Tournaments would be played without fans in the arena.

We’ll update this as we learn more, but this is disappointing.