Duke Blue Devils Out of ACC Tournament After Positive COVID Test: 'I Feel Deeply for Our Players'

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The Duke University Blue Devils are officially out of the ACC Tournament following a positive COVID-19 test within their program.

On Thursday morning, the ACC (Atlantic Coast Conference) announced Duke's game against Florida State University Thursday night had been canceled following "a positive test, subsequent quarantining, and contact tracing within the Duke men's basketball program." The university confirmed the news in a post on the team's Twitter account.

"We will not continue competing in the 2021 ACC Tournament due to our school's and conference's health/safety protocols," their statement read. "The determination was made following the positive COVID-19 test for a member of our program's Tier 1 personnel after Wednesday's game."

As ESPN noted, the Blue Devils won their first two games of the ACC Tournament, eliminating No. 7 seed Louisville on Wednesday night. But the team likely needed to win the entire ACC Tournament to reach the NCAA's March Madness later this month.

Teams that win their conference tournament are automatically entered into the NCAA tournament, though others that didn't may be invited by a selection committee. If the Blue Devils aren't selected, they will miss the NCAA tournament for the first time since 1996, ESPN reported.

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Blue Devils head coach Mike Krzyzewski reacted to the news in a lengthy statement posted to social media through the school.

"I feel deeply for our players, who have done a terrific job all season in taking care of each other and the team," said Krzyzewski, 74, who is commonly referred to as Coach K. "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."

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He added: "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 players also used social media to react to the sudden end of the team's season.

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"Worked so hard for this," tweeted Duke forward, Matthew Hurt.

"Pain," added forward Henry Coleman III.

In his statement, Krzyzewski praised his players for how they've handled their season.

"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," he said. "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."

On Sunday, the NCAA will announce which 68 teams will be invited to play in the men's basketball tournament. The event, known as Selection Sunday, will be broadcast at 6 p.m. EST on CBS. Read more about it here.