Duke has withdrawn from the ACC tournament and ended its season after a positive COVID-19 test within the program.
The ACC announced Thursday that the Blue Devils’ conference tournament quarterfinal game against Florida State was canceled after “a positive test, subsequent quarantining, and contact tracing within the Duke men’s basketball program.”
Duke athletic director Kevin White said in a statement that the cancellation “will end our 2020-21 season,” snapping the Blue Devils’ streak of 24 consecutive NCAA tournament appearances.
The Blue Devils (13-11, 9-9 ACC), who won their first two games in the conference tournament, entered the week knowing that they likely needed to win the ACC tournament to extend the NCAA streak dating back to 1996.
“I feel deeply for our players, who have done a terrific job all season in taking care of each other and the team,” Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said as part of a statement released by the school. “I am extremely proud of their collective attitudes and effort, which could not have been stronger. We are disappointed we cannot keep fighting together as a group after two outstanding days in Greensboro. This season was a challenge for every team across the country and as we have seen over and over, this global pandemic is very cruel and is not yet over. As many safeguards as we implemented, no one is immune to this terrible virus.”
Duke beat Louisville 70-56 on Wednesday to keep its NCAA tournament hopes alive. The Blue Devils moved into Joe Lunardi’s Next Four Out in his latest Bracketology; they needed to beat Florida State and perhaps get another win to receive an at-large bid on Sunday.
“Unfortunately, after going an entire season with no positive COVID-19 tests among our men’s basketball student-athletes and coaching staff, one member of our program tested positive following Wednesday’s ACC Tournament game in Greensboro,” White said. “After working with our medical professionals and following Duke and ACC Medical Advisory Group health, safety, and contact tracing protocols, the student-athletes on our team are now in quarantine. Since last March when the pandemic started, we have listened to our medical experts and always put safety at the forefront of any determinations regarding competition. As a result, this will end our 2020-21 season. We wish every team still playing college basketball good health and the very best during the next few weeks.”
Louisville (13-7, 8-5) announced all Tier 1 individuals within its program have tested negative for COVID-19 and that the team is “on a path to have the requisite consecutive days of negative tests to be able to compete in the NCAA tournament.”
“While our season was different than any other that I can remember, I loved the 2020-21 Duke Basketball team and was honored to be their coach,” Krzyzewski said. “We have not asked more of any team in our history, and they deserve enormous credit for handling everything like the outstanding young men they are.”