Positive COVID test knocks Duke out of ACC tournament, and out of March Madness

Henry Bushnell
·2-min read

Duke's men's basketball team will not continue in the ACC tournament after a positive COVID-19 test within the program, the conference announced Thursday morning.

Duke also confirmed its withdrawal. And athletic director Kevin White said in a statement that the positive test "will end our 2020-21 season," meaning Duke will miss out on the NCAA tournament for the first time since 1995.

The Blue Devils beat Louisville in the ACC tournament's second round on Wednesday. At 13-11 overall, and 11-9 in the ACC, they likely needed to beat second-seeded Florida State on Thursday to have a shot at March Madness. Due to the positive test – the first in the program all season, according to White – that game won't happen.

"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," Mike Krzyzewski said in a statement.

Players were heartbroken:

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COVID-19 troubles at Duke

According to the ACC, the decision to withdraw Duke "follows a positive test, subsequent quarantining, and contact tracing within the program." White confirmed, specifically, that the team's players are in quarantine.

The news comes one day after the university promised new virus-related restrictions following a "recent spike in COVID-19 transmission among undergraduate students."

"Many of these cases are connected to the off-campus rush activities and parties hosted by individuals connected to [fraternities]," the university said in a statement.

It's unclear if the men's basketball program's positive test is connected to the rising transmission rates on campus.

Per CBS Sports' Matt Norlander and Stadium's Jeff Goodman, the player who tested positive is a walk-on who did not play in the win over Louisville – meaning the Cardinals shouldn't have any COVID-related problems entering the NCAA tournament.

Florida State, as a result of the cancellation, will advance to the ACC semis via forfeit. The Seminoles will play the winner of Thursday night's North Carolina-Virginia Tech quarterfinal – which will now tip at 8:30 p.m. ET (ESPN) with the Duke-Florida State game off.

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