For the second yr in a row, Duke will miss the NCAA Event. And, one might argue, it’s due to COVID-19.
A yr in spite of everything of school basketball missed out on the 2020 NCAA Event, the Blue Devils might as soon as once more be absent from March Insanity. At 13-11 on the season, Duke seemingly wanted an ACC Event championship — or, at the least, a berth within the title game — to earn a bid to the 2021 NCAA Event.
Nevertheless, coach Mike Krzyzewski and Co. had their season lower quick once more Thursday after it was reported the group had a COVID-19 optimistic. That compelled its quarterfinal assembly with 2-seed Florida State to be canceled, with the Seminoles advancing with no contest.
“We’re dissatisfied we can’t preserve preventing collectively as a bunch after two excellent days in Greensboro,” Krzyzewski mentioned in an announcement. “This season was a problem for each group throughout the nation, and, as now we have seen time and again, this world pandemic may be very merciless and isn’t but over. As many safeguards as we carried out, nobody is proof against this horrible virus.”
That mentioned, there’s a likelihood — nonetheless small — the Blue Devils might make the NCAA Event, although not in a manner Krzyzewski would like. If that falls via, Duke’s unbelievable streak of made NCAA Tournaments — not together with 2020 — is over. Beneath is all the things you might want to learn about Duke’s streak:
When is the final time Duke missed the NCAA Event?
The final time Duke missed the NCAA Event was in 1994-95; that Blue Devils limped to the tip of the season with a 13-18 file, ending the yr with a second-round ACC Event loss to Wake Forest. Duke had a reasonably good purpose for its abysmal season, a yr after it made the NCAA championship game: Krzyzewski needed to miss nearly all of the season — leaving after the group’s first 12 games — to hunt therapy to his again and recuperate from exhaustion.
Krzyzewski led the group to a 9-3 file earlier than sitting out the rest of the season, which included wins over No. 23 Michigan and No. 17 Georgia Tech (but additionally a loss to No. 16 UConn). Assistant Pete Gaudet took over for Krzyzewski, main the group to its disappointing file that included 4 streaks of at the least three straight losses and 10 defeats to ranked groups. The Blue Devils additionally misplaced two games to rival North Carolina.
Even then, Duke was at a degree the place lacking the event was uncommon: After Krzyzewski’s Blue Devils missed the event in his first three seasons (1980-83), the group made the NCAA Event 11 straight years. The Blue Devils gained at the least one game in each event in that stretch, made six Closing Fours, gained runner-up thrice and twice gained the nationwide championship.
If Duke doesn’t make March Insanity in 2021, it will not simply break a streak of 24 made NCAA Tournaments; it can additionally miss March Insanity for under the second time in 35 seasons (not together with 2020).
Duke basketball file 2020-21
Regardless of Duke’s substandard 13-11 file, the group had a reasonably first rate begin to the season, going 5-2 via its first seven games. (That, in fact, adopted a 2-2 file, the Blue Devils’ worst begin to a season since 1999-2000). Nonetheless, the group’s two losses got here to groups ranked within the high 10 on the time (No. 8 Michigan State and No. 6 Illinois).
It was apparent from the outset, nonetheless, that the Blue Devils would not be capable to play a full schedule, as six games have been both canceled or postponed via Jan. 2. Looking back, the primary Duke loss that would doubtlessly be thought of “ dangerous” got here on Jan. 19, when the group suffered a 79-73 loss to a Pitt group that ended up 10-12 (however was 8-2 after the win on the time).
Duke’s seemingly lowest level of the season got here from Feb. 1-9, when the group misplaced three straight games to unranked opponents. The final of these losses dropped the Blue Devils to 7-8, the one level within the season their file was sub-.500. The group’s excessive level is debatable, nevertheless it may very well be the 66-65 win over No. 7 Virginia on Feb. 20, the third of a four-game win streak. The Blue Devils ended the common season with three straight losses to enter the ACC Event with an 11-record.
From there, Duke performed a few of its finest basketball on the season with its NCAA Event berth on the road: The ten-seed Blue Devils beat 15-seed Boston Faculty 86-51, then beat 7-seed Louisville — which had beat them two instances already this season — 70-56.
Duke and NCAA Event COVID-19 protocols
Regardless of saying its season is over, Duke might conceivably make the NCAA Event below the group’s COVID-19 protocols.
The choice committee will establish 4 groups — the primary 4 groups out of the event — and seed them 1-4. Within the occasion a group from a multi-bid league cannot take part within the NCAA Event — after the preliminary 68-team area is ready however earlier than Tuesday at 6 p.m. ET — the NCAA will select a kind of 4 groups, in ascending order, to interchange the group that may’t play.
If Duke is amongst these 4 groups and is as much as substitute a group, it might want 5 wholesome gamers to provide seven straight days of unfavorable COVID-19 checks. It’s unsure whether or not a quarantining player can be eligible to journey to Indiana in the event that they produced unfavorable take a look at outcomes as properly. Regardless, the Blue Devils must stay on campus and proceed COVID testing whereas awaiting phrase of whether or not it might compete in March Insanity.
Duke had until 11 p.m. ET Saturday to tell the choice committee whether or not it might be unable to satisfy NCAA medical protocols. In keeping with a Saturday report by the Raleigh Information & Observer, Duke males’s basketball administrator Jon Jackson declined to touch upon whether or not the group would inform the NCAA it is unable to play.
Timeline of Duke’s 2020-21 season
Beneath is a timeline of Duke’s largest hits and misses of the 2020-21 season.
Nov. 25: Duke’s season opener towards Gardner-Webb is postponed as a consequence of COVID-19 points on the latter group. It was rescheduled for Dec. 19, almost a month after the unique game was scheduled.
Dec. 6: Duke suffers its second nonconference cancellation towards Elon.
Dec. 8: Following Duke’s 83-68 loss to Illinois — dropping the group to 2-2 — Krzyzewski asks whether or not groups must be enjoying nonconference games amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I might similar to for the security, the psychological and bodily well being of gamers and employees to evaluate the place we’re at,” Krzyzewski mentioned. “We’re simply plowing via this.”
That remark prompted Alabama coach Nate Oats to query whether or not Krzyzewski would make that evaluation had his group been enjoying higher (one thing for which the Crimson Tide later apologized).
Dec. 10: Duke pronounces it can cancel all remaining nonconference games together with Charleston Southern (Dec. 12) and the rescheduled Gardner-Webb game (Dec. 19).
Dec. 29: Duke misses its first convention game of the season towards Pitt, which had a COVID-19-positive player. The groups ended up enjoying on Jan 19, with the Panthers successful 79-73 at dwelling. The group’s ensuing game vs. Florida State on Jan. 2 was additionally postponed.
Jan. 23: Krzyzewski admonishes student-reporter Jake Piazza after his group’s 70-65 loss to Louisville dropped Duke to 5-5 on the season.
“Why do not we simply consider this game, I am not likely into what our subsequent step ahead is true now,” Krzyzewski mentioned.
Krzyewski known as Piazza to apologize for the admonishment.
Feb. 15: Freshman Jalen Johnson — a five-star recruit and No. 13 total player within the 2020 class — pronounces his resolution to forgo the rest of the 2020-21 season and focus as an alternative on the 2021 NBA Draft. The transfer is reportedly supported by Krzyzewski and Johnson’s teammates, however the transfer is regardless criticized, together with by Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim .
Feb. 27: Duke loses three straight games (the primary two in additional time) to drop to 11-11 on the season, eradicating any likelihood the Blue Devils make the NCAA Event as an at-large bid.
March 11: Duke’s ACC Event quarterfinal matchup with 2-seed Florida State is canceled after the previous produced a COVID-19 optimistic from a “Tier 1” particular person on the group. Florida State advances to the semifinals whereas Duke declares its season “over” at 13-11.
Daniel Elton, senior editor at Wahu Times, writes about politics and policy with a focus on climate advocacy. Daniel previously at the New Republic and, and Self. Daniel can be reached by email.