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Duke basketball season over after one positive COVID-19 test, ending team's 24-year NCAA tournament streak


Coach K and players react to their season coming to an unceremonious end

Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

The Duke men's basketball season is over after the Blue Devils' were pulled from their next Atlantic Coast Conference tournament game after a single member of the team tested positive for the coronavirus. The single positive COVID-19 test also ends an impressive streak for legendary Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski.

Duke announced Thursday that a member of the program's Tier 1 personnel tested positive for the coronavirus after Wednesday's game, where the No. 10 seed Blue Devils defeated No. 7 seed Louisville 70-56 in the ACC tournament. The team did not reveal the identity of the member who tested positive.

Duke (13-11) was slated to play Florida State (15-5) on Thursday in the ACC tournament quarterfinals.

The NCAA's health and safety protocols for the men's basketball tournament in Indianapolis require seven consecutive negative COVID-19 tests.

Current and former Duke basketball players reacted to the "heartbreaking" news.

Hall of Fame coach Krzyzewski issued a statement:

While our season was different than any other that I can remember, I loved the 2020-21 Duke Basketball team and was honored to be their coach. We have not asked more of any team in our history, and they deserve enormous credit for handling everything like the outstanding young men they are. I feel deeply for our players, who have done a terrific job all season in taking care of each other and the team. I am extremely proud of their collective attitudes and effort, which could not have been stronger. We are disappointed we cannot keep fighting together as a group after two outstanding days in Greensboro. This season was a challenge for every team across the country and as we have seen over and over, this global pandemic is very cruel and is not yet over. As many safeguards as we implemented, no one is immune to this terrible virus.

Duke athletic director Kevin White also commented on the situation:

Unfortunately, after going an entire season with no positive COVID-19 tests among our men's basketball student-athletes and coaching staff, one member of our program tested positive following Wednesday's ACC Tournament game in Greensboro. After working with our medical professionals and following Duke and ACC Medical Advisory Group health, safety, and contact tracing protocols, the student-athletes on our team are now in quarantine. Since last March when the pandemic started, we have listened to our medical experts and always put safety at the forefront of any determinations regarding competition. As a result, this will end our 2020-21 season. We wish every team still playing college basketball good health and the very best during the next few weeks.

With Duke's season over, it also ended the Blue Devils' 24-year streak of reaching the NCAA tournament, the third-longest streak of all-time.

Fellow college basketball powerhouse Kentucky will also miss the NCAA tourney, making it the first time since 1976 that the NCAA tournament didn't include either the Wildcats or the Blue Devils.

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