Duke cancels rest of nonconference schedule

Duke won’t play any more nonleague games this season, choosing to only face fellow Atlantic Coast Conference teams “out of an abundance of caution due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” the university said in a press release on Thursday.

The No. 10 Blue Devils have canceled their Dec. 19 home game against Gardner-Webb, and games against Elon and Charleston Southern that had been postponed due to COVID-19 issues will not be made up.

The Blue Devils (2-2) won’t play again until opening their 20-game ACC schedule at Notre Dame on Dec. 16 before taking a lengthy break before hosting Pittsburgh on Dec. 29.

Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said he informed his players of the decision.

Mike Krzyzewski
Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

“This is the best decision we could make as a program, in making sure that we are doing the right thing for our players,” Krzyzewski said in a statement. “This will also allow our team to have time over the holidays to safely enjoy with their families. These kids need to be with their families, at least for a little bit.”

Duke players allowed to visit families

Duke’s players will be allowed to visit their families later this month for the first time since arriving at the university this summer while adhering to the school’s strict testing and quarantine rules.

Duke’s players can visit with their families during the period after the Notre Dame game until they are scheduled to return to school on Dec. 24 to prepare for the ACC season.

“These kids go through so much, and we need to take care of them,” Krzyzewski said.

Duke suffered a 15-point loss to No. 6 Illinois in front of no fans at Cameron Indoor Stadium on Tuesday.

Cameron Indoor Arena, Duke Blue Devils, fans
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“I don’t think it feels right to anybody,” Krzyzewski said on playing during the pandemic. “I mean, everyone is concerned. You know, we made an assessment or … I’m not sure who leads college basketball, you know. It’s done by committee. You have (the NCAA) oversight committee, you have this committee, and anything that’s led by committee is not agile in handling a situation.

“And so we made an assessment, and there was a consensus. It wasn’t, like, well-planned that we’re going to start Nov. 25. That was made without knowing if there’s going to be or the vaccine was, how many cases. Basically, it was more of a mentality of, ‘Get as many games in as possible.’”

–Field Level Media (@FieldLevelMedia)