Bubble Watch 2021: What happens to Duke now?

  • ESPN Insider college basketball contributor
  • First began covering college hoops in 2004
  • Has written for Basketball Prospectus and the Wall Street Journal

What is always the busiest and, in some ways, most consequential day of Champ Week became even busier and more consequential on Thursday morning. Our colleague Jeff Borzello confirmed an earlier report from Stadium: Duke would withdraw from the ACC tournament due to a positive COVID-19 test.

The first impact of the news, of course, has zero to do with basketball and everything to do with health and safety. A wish for good health, peace of mind and, where need be, a rapid and complete recovery goes out not only to the Duke players and staff but also to the Louisville and possibly even Boston College programs as well. In the 48 hours before the news broke, the Blue Devils won games against both the Cardinals and the Eagles.

Next comes the discussion of what this does to the postseason. In Duke’s case, the news couldn’t have come at a more inopportune time. The Blue Devils were rising steadily in the mock brackets and a potential win against Florida State in the ACC quarterfinals could have put Mike Krzyzewski’s team in the thick of the discussion.

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