Duke's season is over after positive Covid-19 test; will miss Big Dance for first time since 1995 | Zagsblog
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Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
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Monday / March 4.
  • Duke’s season is over after positive Covid-19 test; will miss Big Dance for first time since 1995

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    By ADAM ZAGORIA

    Duke is out of the ACC Tournament and their season is over after at least one practice player tested positive for Covid-19 following Wednesday’s win over Louisville, a source told ZAGSBLOG.

    “They just literally called us and told us maybe 20 minutes ago,” a source close to the team said Thursday morning.

    “Even if we were to make the [NCAA] Tournament, we would’ve had to quarantine and the tournament’s going to start,” the source added.

    Jeff Goodman of Stadium first reported the news. Duke then released an official statement saying “the determination was made following the positive COVID-19 test within a member of the program’s Tier 1 personnel after Wednesday’s game.”

    “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,” Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said in a statement.

    “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. 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. 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.”

    No. 10 Duke was set to take on No. 2 seed Florida State in the ACC quarterfinals Thursday after a 70-56 win over Louisville on Wednesday night.

    Had they beaten FSU, it might have been hard for the NCAA Selection Committee to keep the Blue Devils out of the Big Dance. They haven’t missed it since 1995, and the last time they missed it with Mike Krzyzewski coaching a full season was 1982-83.

    Said Duke AD Kevin White: “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. 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.”

    This is the latest development in what has been a crazy season for Duke. Freshman sensation Jalen Johnson left the team abruptly in February, and that came after Coach K in December canceled the team’s remaining non-conference games due to Covid concerns after losing at home to both Michigan State and Illinois.

    Rather than stay in Greensboro and share a hotel with other ACC teams, Duke elected to travel to and from Durham for each game. The team headed head home to Durham after Wednesday and was slated to return to Greensboro Thursday.

    Louisville, meantime, said all of its Tier-1 personnel tested negative after the Duke game.

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