The NCAA Tournament could be played without perennial powerhouses Duke and Kentucky for the first time since 1976, but it's not a certainty.
Duke athletic director Kevin White said in a statement Thursday that a positive COVID-19 test within their program that forced the Blue Devils to withdraw from the ACC Tournament "will end our 2020-21 season," ending a streak of 24 consecutive Big Dance appearances.
On Saturday, ESPN reported that Duke could play in the tournament if selected as an at-large team or a COVID-replacement team.
Kentucky isn't expected to get an at-large bid with a 9-16 record. The Wildcats lost to Mississippi State in their SEC Tournament opener.
Social media reactions from Thursday:
If the NCAA Tournament also is played without Cincinnati or Xavier, it would be the first time since 1985 that both teams missed it.
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