Duke basketball officially misses 2021 NCAA Tournament

Duke basketball (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)
Duke basketball (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images) /

Duke basketball has officially missed the 2021 NCAA Tournament. 

The speculation and questions can end as the Duke basketball program has officially missed the 2021 NCAA Tournament.

After a disappointing season that saw their most heralded freshman, Jalen Johnson, leave the program in mid-February, the Blue Devils (13-11, 9-9 ACC) rattled off four straight victories but closed the regular season on a disappointing three-game losing streak.

Duke entered the ACC Tournament in uncharted waters with its first-ever appearance on a Tuesday in Greensboro, and many experts said the Blue Devils needed to at least advance to the conference championship in order to earn an at-large bid.

Mike Krzyzewski guided his team to two convincing victories over Boston College and Louisville before a positive COVID-19 test disqualified the Blue Devils from competition hours before their scheduled quarterfinal game against the Florida State Seminoles.

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Over the course of the week, those same experts said if Duke were to beat Florida State, the NCAA Tournament Selection Committee would have a hard time keeping the five-time National Champions out of the Field of 68.

The positive COVID-19 test was originally thought to end Duke’s season, as alluded to in separate statements from athletic director Kevin White and head coach Mike Krzyzewski, but the Blue Devils were ready to travel to Indianapolis if selected to the tournament, according to multiple reports.

Teams had to inform the NCAA by 11:00pm EST on Saturday night if they could not meet the health and safety protocols set in order to compete in the NCAA Tournament and no team relayed such a message to the selection committee.

Duke is missing the NCAA Tournament for the first year since 1995, not including the canceled tournament in 2020, and it’s the first time missing the Big Dance in which Mike Krzyzewski was the head coach for the entire season since 1983.

The last four teams included in the NCAA Tournament were Wichita State, Drake, Michigan State, and UCLA.

Louisville, Colorado State, St. Louis, and Ole Miss are the replacement teams.

What is next for Duke basketball?

Since the Blue Devils were not named as a ‘replacement team’ in the NCAA Tournament, Duke could be invited to the NIT, but it seems unlikely that the program would accept an invitation.

The NIT selection show will be held on Sunday night at 8:30pm EST (ESPNU) but many programs have already stated that they would not accept an invitation to the event due to it being held in a bubble environment in the Dallas-Fort Worth region.

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For the second straight season, the Blue Devils will end their year with a victory that was not a National Championship.

Duke should be a preseason Top-10 team in 2021-22 with the addition of five-star prospects Paolo Banchero and Adrian Griffin Jr. as it is still to be determined which players could remain in Durham from this year’s squad.

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