Duke basketball season officially ends with declining NIT invitation

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

Sunday night marked the official end of the Duke basketball season. 

The nightmare that was the 2020-21 Duke basketball season is officially over.

Duke was neither selected to the NCAA Tournament nor named as a replacement team, and the Blue Devils will not participate in the 2021 National Invitational Tournament, as first reported by Stephen Wiseman.

The decision of removing its name from consideration for the NIT should not come as a surprise to anyone as head coach Mike Krzyzewski was not thrilled at the idea of plowing through and playing a full regular season in a pandemic.

In addition, the NIT will solely be held in a bubble setting in Texas this year as the state just fully reopened amid the coronavirus pandemic.

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Duke also had its own COVID-19 issues to deal with as it was disqualified from the ACC Tournament after having a positive test within the program, ending any chance it had at playing itself into the NCAA Tournament.

The Blue Devils reportedly would have had enough players to travel to Indianapolis to play in the NCAA Tournament if selected, but athletic director Kevin White said in a statement that the positive COVID test, which forced the Blue Devils out of Greensboro, “will end our 2020-21 season.”

Duke basketball not the only program to turn down NIT

Other teams that have also removed their names from consideration for the 2021 NIT are St. John’s, Seton Hall, Xavier, and Louisville.

Louisville was named as the first replacement team for the NCAA Tournament, and if not called up to Indianapolis, the Cardinals will end their season after the loss to Duke in the second round of the ACC Tournament.

Speculation will now rage on as to who will be on the 2021-22 roster for the Duke Blue Devils as the program will not have played in the NCAA Tournament for two consecutive years.

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If sophomores Matthew Hurt and Wendell Moore were to leave Durham, they would never have seen March Madness in their collegiate careers, similar to their former freshman teammates Vernon Carey Jr. and Cassius Stanley.

Duke already has two five-star recruits joining the program next season in Paolo Banchero and Adrian Griffin Jr.

The NIT Selection Show will air at 8:30pm EST (ESPNU) on Sunday, March 14, and Duke will end its season at 13-11 (9-9 ACC), missing its first NCAA Tournament since 1995.

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