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Is Duke in March Madness this year? Timeline of the Blue Devils’ first NCAA Tournament miss since 1995


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For the second 12 months in a row, Duke will miss the NCAA Tournament. And, one might argue, it’s as a result of of COVID-19.

A 12 months in spite of everything of school basketball missed out on the 2020 NCAA Tournament, the Blue Devils might as soon as once more be absent from March Madness. At 13-11 on the season, Duke possible wanted an ACC Tournament championship — or, no less than, a berth in the title sport — to earn a bid to the 2021 NCAA Tournament.

However, coach Mike Krzyzewski and Co. had their season minimize quick once more Thursday after it was reported the group had a COVID-19 optimistic. That pressured its quarterfinal assembly with 2-seed Florida State to be canceled, with the Seminoles advancing with no contest.

“We are disappointed we cannot keep fighting together as a group after two outstanding days in Greensboro,” Krzyzewski mentioned in a press release. “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.”

That mentioned, there’s a probability — nonetheless small — the Blue Devils might make the NCAA Tournament, although not in a method Krzyzewski would favor. If that falls via, Duke’s unbelievable streak of made NCAA Tournaments — not together with 2020 — is over. Below is all the pieces it is advisable find out about Duke’s streak:

MORE: Duke’s season ends without a defeat, yet Blue Devils still lose big

When is the final time Duke missed the NCAA Tournament?

The final time Duke missed the NCAA Tournament was in 1994-95; that Blue Devils limped to the finish of the season with a 13-18 document, ending the 12 months with a second-round ACC Tournament loss to Wake Forest. Duke had a reasonably good motive for its abysmal season, a 12 months after it made the NCAA championship sport: Krzyzewski needed to miss the majority of the season — leaving after the group’s first 12 video games — to hunt therapy to his again and get better from exhaustion.

Krzyzewski led the group to a 9-3 document earlier than sitting out the the rest of the season, which included wins over No. 23 Michigan and No. 17 Georgia Tech (but in addition a loss to No. 16 UConn). Assistant Pete Gaudet took over for Krzyzewski, main the group to its disappointing document that included 4 streaks of no less than three straight losses and 10 defeats to ranked groups. The Blue Devils additionally misplaced two video 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 Tournament 11 straight years. The Blue Devils received no less than one sport in each event in that stretch, made six Final Fours, received runner-up 3 times and twice received the nationwide championship.

If Duke doesn’t make March Madness in 2021, it will not simply break a streak of 24 made NCAA Tournaments; it should additionally miss March Madness for under the second time in 35 seasons (not together with 2020).


Duke basketball document 2020-21

Despite Duke’s substandard 13-11 document, the group had a reasonably respectable begin to the season, going 5-2 via its first seven video games. (That, of course, adopted a 2-2 document, the Blue Devils’ worst begin to a season since 1999-2000). Still, the group’s two losses got here to groups ranked in the prime 10 at 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 of play a full schedule, as six video games had been both canceled or postponed via Jan. 2. In retrospect, the first Duke loss that would probably be thought-about bad” 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 at the time).

Duke’s possible lowest level of the season got here from Feb. 1-9, when the group misplaced three straight video games to unranked opponents. The final of these losses dropped the Blue Devils to 7-8, the solely level in the season their document was sub-.500. The group’s excessive level is debatable, but it surely could possibly 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 Tournament with an 11-record.

From there, Duke performed some of its finest basketball on the season with its NCAA Tournament berth on the line: The 10-seed Blue Devils beat 15-seed Boston College 86-51, then beat 7-seed Louisville — which had beat them two occasions already this season — 70-56.

Duke and NCAA Tournament COVID-19 protocols

Despite saying its season is over, Duke might conceivably make the NCAA Tournament beneath the group’s COVID-19 protocols.

The choice committee will establish 4 groups — the first 4 groups out of the event — and seed them 1-4. In the occasion a group from a multi-bid league cannot take part in the NCAA Tournament — after the preliminary 68-team area is about however earlier than Tuesday at 6 p.m. ET — the NCAA will select one of these 4 groups, in ascending order, to exchange the group that may’t play.

If Duke is amongst these 4 groups and is as much as change a group, it could want 5 wholesome gamers to supply seven straight days of damaging COVID-19 exams. It is unsure whether or not a quarantining participant can be eligible to journey to Indiana in the event that they produced damaging check outcomes as effectively. Regardless, the Blue Devils must stay on campus and proceed COVID testing whereas awaiting phrase of whether or not it might compete in March Madness.

Duke had until 11 p.m. ET Saturday to tell the choice committee whether or not it could be unable to fulfill NCAA medical protocols. According to a Saturday report by the Raleigh News & 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.

MORE: Explaining how NCAA will select new teams to account for COVID-19 withdrawals


Timeline of Duke’s 2020-21 season

Below 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 because of COVID-19 points on the latter group. It was rescheduled for Dec. 19, almost a month after the unique sport 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 ought to be enjoying nonconference video games amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I would just like for the safety, the mental and physical health of players and staff to assess where we’re at,” Krzyzewski mentioned. “We’re just plowing through 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 broadcasts it should cancel all remaining nonconference video games together with Charleston Southern (Dec. 12) and the rescheduled Gardner-Webb sport (Dec. 19).

Dec. 29: Duke misses its first convention sport of the season towards Pitt, which had a COVID-19-positive participant. The groups ended up enjoying on Jan 19, with the Panthers profitable 79-73 at house. The group’s ensuing sport 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 don’t we just evaluate this game, I’m not really into what our next step forward is right now,” Krzyzewski mentioned.


Krzyewski referred to as Piazza to apologize for the admonishment.

Feb. 15: Freshman Jalen Johnson — a five-star recruit and No. 13 general participant in the 2020 class — broadcasts his determination to forgo the 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 video games (the first two in additional time) to drop to 11-11 on the season, eradicating any probability the Blue Devils make the NCAA Tournament as an at-large bid.

March 11: Duke’s ACC Tournament quarterfinal matchup with 2-seed Florida State is canceled after the former 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.



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