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Positive COVID Test Forces Duke Out Of ACC Men's Basketball Tournament

Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski at the ACC Men’s Basketball Tournament.
Ethan Hyman
via the ACC
Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski is not happy during the second half of Duke’s 70-56 victory over Louisville in the second round of the ACC Men’s Basketball Tournament in Greensboro, N.C., Wednesday, March 10, 2021.

Duke’s run in the ACC men’s basketball tournament is over.

The ACC announced Thursday that Duke’s quarterfinal matchup against Florida State in Greensboro was canceled due to “a positive test, subsequent quarantining, and contact tracing within the Duke men’s basketball program.”

Jeff Goodman of Stadium was the first to report the positive test within Duke’s team. Multiple news outlets have since confirmed the report. According to Brendan Marks at The Athletic, this is Duke’s first positive COVID-19 test among the men’s basketball team this year.

"I feel deeply for our players, who have done a terrific job all season in taking care of each other and the team. I am extremely proud of their collective attitudes and effort, which could not have been stronger,” Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski said in a statement. “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 athletic director Kevin White added: “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."

On Wednesday, Duke sent an email to students warning that increased COVID-19 cases among undergraduates – many of which were linked to fraternity events – could prompt them to institute a curfew and halt in-person classes.

Duke’s men’s basketball team was not staying overnight in Greensboro for the tournament like many other ACC teams. Instead, they were busing back-and-forth to Durham and staying on-campus at the Washington Duke Inn, according to the News & Observer.

The Blue Devils are 13-11 this season with a 9-9 record in ACC play. Duke topped Boston College and Louisville in its first two ACC tournament games. They were led in both victories by freshman center Mark Williams, who totaled 36 points, 20 rebounds and two blocks across both contests.

Florida State will advance to the ACC tournament semifinals. While White said that Duke’s season is over, the team will have to wait until Sunday, during the NCAA tournament selection show, to find out its official postseason fate.

The Blue Devils have appeared in 24 straight NCAA tournaments. If Duke isn’t granted an at-large bid to this year’s field, it’ll be the first NCAA tournament they’ve missed since 1995. At ESPN, bracketologist Joe Lunardi had Duke on “the bubble,” projected to be outside of the 68-team field, among the “next four out.”

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