Instead, due to a positive COVID-19 test and the subsequent quarantining and contact tracing, the Blue Devils were forced to withdraw from the tournament and finish their season. The ACC announced that Duke's quarterfinal match versus No. 2 Virginia on March 18 has been canceled.
Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said in a statement that his team "is responsible for ensuring its players are kept safe," and that they made the decision after evaluating the risks involved with traveling during the coronavirus pandemic. The Blue Devils finished the season 26-5 overall and 12-4 in the ACC to earn an at-large bid into the NCAA Tournament. They will receive a first-round bye.
This is the second time this year that an NCAA basketball tournament has been canceled because of concerns about the coronavirus. On February 19, the entire initial field was wiped out when Louisville withdrew from the tournament after one of its players tested positive for the virus. A new date has not yet been set for the start of the NBA season or when sports leagues around the world can expect to see games played again.
There have been more than 100 cases reported worldwide of people who have been infected with the coronavirus. In addition to the United States, countries including Italy, Germany, China, and Iran have also banned or restricted travel from areas where there is evidence of community spread.
Duke's season has come to an untimely end. The Duke program revealed on Thursday that a positive test among Tier 1 employees caused them to withdraw from the ACC Tournament prior of a game against Florida State, thereby ending their season. The company stated that it intends to conduct an internal review of its drug testing process.
This is not the first time this has happened. In 2008, Louisville withdrew from the NCAA Tournament after a player was found to have a high level of testosterone in his system. That player's name was Derrick Williams and he went on to be a first-round pick in the NBA draft.
It seems like there are more examples than not of schools that play at the Division I level getting involved in drugs scandals. Last year, Miami had eight players suspended for various reasons (four due to drugs). This year, it has already been reported that several Hurricanes have been arrested or charged with crimes related to marijuana.
It is clear that drugs are being used by some college students to get through sports injuries easier, to stay awake during long games and tournaments, and sometimes as a way to relax or have fun. But considering the number of cases that have made headlines over the past few years, it seems like these drugs are very common within the sporty culture of college basketball.
Duke is withdrawing from the ACC tournament and terminating its season due to a positive test inside its men's basketball program, according to team spokesperson Mike DeGeorge on Thursday morning. The Blue Devils will not participate in the ACC tournament quarterfinal game against Florida State on Thursday night.
The news comes one day after Duke announced that freshman guard Jordan Goldwire had been suspended for two games for an incident outside of a nightclub in Atlanta on Wednesday night. Goldwire was not present for Thursday's practice but did travel with the team to Raleigh-Durham for its first round game against North Carolina on Friday night.
"We are extremely disappointed by this situation," Duke coach David Cutler said in a statement. "Jordan has accepted responsibility for his actions and we support him as he seeks help for his problem."
Goldwire is the second player from last year's recruiting class to be suspended by Duke this season. Forward Chase Jeter missed the first four games of the season after being charged with assault and battery for an incident involving marijuana at a party in April. He played a total of 14 minutes in those games.
Duke announced on November 2 that it would not pursue a postseason ban for this season's team after allegations arose that current players were involved in sexual harassment practices during the 2013-14 campaign.
Duke Blue Devils are out of the NCAA tournament for only the second time in 38 years. The Blue Devils were not granted an at-large spot by the selection committee after finishing 13-11 until a positive COVID-19 test among one of their players forced them to withdraw from the ACC tournament. Without a berth into the NCAA tournament, they will need to win the NIT to continue playing this season.
The Blue Devils have never been out of the NCAA tournament before April 1. They are now in their 33rd year of existence and have made the tournament every year except three (1989-91).
This is only the second time that Duke has been excluded from the tournament in its entire history. The other time was back in 1979 when President Carter refused to release federal funds for sports programs because many of the athletes participated in such events as picketing and protesting racial inequality and poverty. The government money was released only after the Democrats took control of the House of Representatives, so the boycott was over.
Duke has always been a big deal in college basketball and has won more than $100 million in scholarships alone over the years. But despite all of that, it has never been able to get itself into the NCAA tournament.
In 1989-90, then-first-year coach Mike Krzyzewski led Duke to a 26-4 record and its first national championship.
After a positive COVID-19 test within the program, Duke withdrew from the ACC tournament and ended its season. The cancellation, according to Duke athletic director Kevin White, "will conclude our 2020-21 season," ending the Blue Devils' string of 24 straight NCAA tournament berths.
Duke had been scheduled to play in the ACC tournament on March 5-6 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. Instead, they will travel home to Durham, North Carolina, where the remainder of their schedule was to have taken place. The Blue Devils were 21-8 overall and 10-4 in the ACC.
The news comes less than two weeks after Duke announced that head coach Mike Krzyzewski would be retiring at the end of this season. He is 448-152 in 23 seasons at Duke and has led his team to the NCAA tournament every year but one (1997). This is also the second time this decade that Duke has canceled its season due to coronavirus fears. In January, the virus caused many events across the world to be postponed or cancelled.
There have been more than 100 cases reported in America related to the virus so far, with three deaths attributed to it. However, experts say the number of infections could be much higher since most people don't get sick.