Duke pulls out of ACC Tournament, NCAA tourney streak ends

Thursday, March 11, 2021

GREENSBORO, N.C. (AP) — Duke arrived at the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament hoping to make an unprecedented run to extend its long NCAA Tournament streak.

Instead, the Blue Devils abruptly had to pull out of the tournament and end its season due to a positive COVID-19 test and the resulting quarantining and contact tracing.

The ACC announced that the Blue Devils’ quarterfinal game against No. 15 Florida State for Thursday night has been canceled. And athletics director Kevin White said Duke’s season is over, ending the Blue Devils’ streak of 24 consecutive NCAA appearances that began in 1996.

In a statement, White said the positive test for someone within the program came after Wednesday’s win against Louisville, the Blue Devils’ second win in as many days in Greensboro. Before this, there had been no positive tests all season for a player or coach, he said.

“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,” White said. “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.”

The Blue Devils (13-11, 9-9 ACC) failed to live up to their lofty standards, but coach Mike Krzyzewski said he loved this young team and was honored to coach it.

“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,” Krzyzewski said in a statement. “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.”

With Duke withdrawing, the Seminoles advanced to the ACC Tournament semifinals to play the North Carolina-Virginia Tech winner.

“I just think that preparing yourself for the unexpected is what we’ve been trying to do all year long,” FSU coach Leonard Hamilton said. “It’s unfortunate that we won’t be able to play this game today. But we have to deal with it in a mature way and just be glad that no one’s put at risk.”

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