Duke would play in the NCAA Tournament if the Blue Devils are picked as an at-large team or a COVID-replacement team, ESPN reported Saturday.
The report comes two days after a positive COVID-19 test within the Blue Devils’ program caused the team to cancel its ACC tournament quarterfinal game on Thursday and remove itself from the event, a decision that led Duke athletic director Kevin White to say the team’s season was over.
While it’s doubtful Duke (13-11, 9-9 ACC) would get invited as an at-large team, the Blue Devils could back into a spot if one of the 68 teams has to withdraw due to COVID-19 issues.
For a team to play in the NCAA Tournament, it must have seven straight negative daily tests before arriving in Indiana, where the entire tournament will be held. Teams will undergo daily testing while inside the tournament’s bubble environment.
Teams that feel they will not be able to comply with the event’s medical protocols must inform the Division I Men’s Basketball Committee by Saturday night.
Once the bracket is announced at 6 p.m. ET on Sunday, there is a 48-hour window that allows teams that have COVID-19 issues to be replaced. The bracket will be locked on Tuesday at 6 p.m. ET.
A team must have five healthy players to compete in an NCAA Tournament game, according to the NCAA.
Duke refused to comment on the Blue Devils’ postseason future.
Duke, which has made the past 24 NCAA tourneys, likely needed to win the ACC tournament to extend its streak.
Tenth-seeded Duke won its first two games at the conference tournament but had to withdraw prior to its quarterfinal against second-seeded Florida State.
The Blue Devils weren’t the only ACC team to pull out of the tournament in Greensboro, N.C.
Top-seeded Virginia (18-6) announced on Friday it was withdrawing due to COVID-19 issues and contact tracing. That enabled fourth-seeded Georgia Tech, which was set to face the Cavaliers in the semifinals, to advance to its first ACC final since 2010. The Yellow Jackets played just one game to get there — a 70-66 quarterfinal victory over 13th-seeded Miami on Thursday.
–Field Level Media