The 2021 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament will be without some of college basketball’s elite schools.
The Blue Devils needed to win or at least make the ACC tournament championship. The team was riding high after beating Boston College and Louisville but did not make it far after a positive coronavirus test within the team forced them to bow out of the postseason.
Duke finished the season 13-11 overall and 9-9 in the ACC.
The NCAA Selection Committee determined the team didn’t do enough to garner a spot in the field of 68. And neither did Kentucky or Louisville.
Kentucky started the season ranked No. 10 in the Associated Press Top 25 but finished 9-16 overall and 8-9 in the SEC. It’s the first time the Wildcats didn’t make the tournament since 2013 and the first time the school finished the season with a losing record since the 1988-89 season.
“My teams historically played like if they lost, they were going to the electric chair,” Calipari said upon its season’s end, via Kentucky Sports Radio. “This team did not. [At] Times we did. But maybe physically we weren’t capable of that. But you know what, here is what I would say. For them to play how they started that game, then to play the second half the way they played, says something about them. They never quit on anything. They didn’t quit one time this year.”
Louisville lost to Duke in the ACC tourney, solidifying missing the NCAA tournament.
Chris Mack’s squad finished 13-7 with an 8-5 record in the ACC. The Cardinals may have been able to get in if it weren’t for the upset conference title victories in the Big East and Pac-12.
Mitch Barnhart, the chair of the men’s basketball selection committee, said during the selection show the school’s COVID-19 pauses didn’t help either.
“Certainly, pauses have been a part of that conversation,” he said, via WDRB-TV. “What we noticed, they were under consideration deep into discussions that we had. The challenge was that you had two teams that made really remarkable tournament runs in Georgetown and Oregon State … and as they took those spots, some people had to fall off. Unfortunately, you have an opportunity during the course of the year to get your resume where you want it to be, and at the end of the day if it’s not where you want it to be, you have a chance to go to the tournament and secure the (automatic qualifier). Two teams did that, and in the process of doing that, they took two bids away.”
Each team also decided to forgo the NIT.