In all likelihood, we’ve seen the last of the Duke Blue Devils this season. There is still a slight chance that head coach Mike Krzyzewski and his team could crash the Big Dance, though.
Duke was unceremoniously bounced from the ACC Tournament this week, due to a positive COVID-19 test within the program. The Blue Devils seemed to have some solid momentum, beating Boston College on Tuesday and Louisville on Wednesday, as they looked to make a deep run to crawl off the bubble and into an NCAA Tournament bid.
Their backs were still against the wall. Many figured Duke would have to win the ACC Tournament and claim the automatic bid, because of the hole that the program dug itself this winter. The COVID-19 news seemed to knock the team out of the picture entirely, especially with athletic director saying that the situation “will end our 2020-21 season” in a statement. This morning, however, ESPN’s Rece Davis updated the situation.
On this morning’s College GameDay, the ESPN host said that “in the unlikely event that the Blue Devils were selected, they would play.” To make things even more bizarre, Duke would also accept the role of being a replacement team, if possible.
FWIW Rece Davis just now on GameDay:
“College GameDay has learned in the unlikely event that the Blue Devils were selected they would play. And also, it’s pretty unlikely they’d be a replacement team, but if they are they too would serve if necessary in that situation.”
— Kelsey Riggs (@kelseyriggs) March 13, 2021
Duke basketball fans shouldn’t get too excited about this. The team can’t improve its bubble situation, and will probably be pretty far down the list in terms of “next teams up,” should COVID-19 eliminate some teams prematurely.
The program has not confirmed ESPN’s report at this time.
Still, there is an infinitesimal chance that the Blue Devils can reach The Big Dance, with this news. We’ve already seen teams like Kansas, Virginia, and North Carolina A&T get knocked from their conference tournaments, in the days after Duke’s own COVID-19 scare. Right now, it is unclear if teams like that will be able to get things cleared in time to make it to Indiana. From ESPN:
To play in the NCAA tournament, a team needs to show seven consecutive negative daily tests before arriving in Indianapolis, then undergo daily testing while inside the controlled environment there.
Dan Gavitt, NCAA senior vice president of men’s basketball, has said that a team needs just five healthy players to play in an NCAA tournament game.
Saturday night is the deadline for any team believing that it cannot meet the medical protocols to inform the Division I Men’s Basketball Committee. There also is a 48-hour window after the bracket is announced during which teams can be replaced. After Tuesday at 6 p.m. ET, the bracket is locked.
KU and UVA would be locks for at-large bids. NC A&T was the top seed in the MEAC before having to bow out of their conference tournament, and as a low-major, is probably done unfortunately.
If this week has shown anything, it is that we should still be well prepared for the unpredictable this March. Hopefully all of the teams involved are staying as safe as humanly possible as we near the Big Dance.
The post Report: Duke Could Still Play In The NCAA Tournament appeared first on The Spun.
Leave a Reply