Duke basketball: Blue Devils will not play in scheduled NCAA Tournament

Duke basketball (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
Duke basketball (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) /

The Duke basketball program and all the rest of the university’s sports teams have halted all activities indefinitely in light of the spread of novel coronavirus, thereby putting pressure on the NCAA to act in a similar fashion.

Imagine, Duke basketball fans, trying to explain to your November selves why the following statement isn’t quite as heavenly as it seems: the 2019-20 Blue Devils went undefeated in March and ended a season with a win for the sixth time under 40th-year head coach Mike Krzyzewski, and that win came against North Carolina.

UPDATE: Shortly after the publishing of this article, the NCAA canceled all remaining winter and spring championships.

As News & Observer beat writer Stephen Wiseman reported on Thursday afternoon just prior to what had been the scheduled tip time for Duke vs. North Carolina State in Greensboro, N.C., “Duke pressured ACC into canceling tournament by shutting down all Blue Devil sports.” He also noted that there is no chance that would change between now and the NCAA March Madness Selection Show, which remains on tap for Sunday at 6 p.m. (CBS).

And Washington Post reporter Gene Wang tweeted the same conclusion: “If NCAA Tournament happens, it will do so without Duke, which announced it is suspending all athletic competition for foreseeable future.”

Here is the statement from Duke director of athletics Kevin White:

The ACC followed suit roughly an hour later:

According to an article from CBS Sports insiders Adam Silverstein and Dennis Dodd that came out around the same time as Duke’s official announcement, “Top NCAA officials are meeting most of the day Thursday to decide the future of the 2020 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament amid growing concerns over the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic…Though a decision could be shared with the public at any point, the current expectation is that an official announcement won’t be made until Friday.”

Well, sadly, it looks as if the Duke basketball season has concluded with the Blue Devils boasting a 25-6 overall record, including a 15-5 mark against ACC competition, and a final No. 10 ranking in the AP Poll (in case you didn’t hear, the ACC handed the trophy for winning the conference to Florida State, which finished No. 1 in the standings for the regular season at 16-4).

ALSO READ: Probabilities for each Duke player’s return next season

We here at Ball Durham plan to provide some reflections on the season in the coming days while we hope to soon gain more clarity about the future. Try to stay healthy and safe, and thanks for following all of our coverage.

Meanwhile, just remember there are surely worse notes to end a season on than the highlight below:

For more information about COVID-19, visit the CDC’s website or the website for your state’s Department of Health.

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