Duke Won't Play Non-Conference Basketball Games for Remainder of 2020-21 Season

Blake SchusterSenior Analyst IDecember 10, 2020

FILE - In this Saturday, March 7, 2020, file photo, Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski reacts to an official during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against North Carolina in Durham, N.C. The NCAA's announcement college basketball start date led to huge scramble as schools tried to fill out schedules altered by the coronavirus pandemic. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome, File)
Gerry Broome/Associated Press

Duke's men's basketball team will only play conference games for the remainder of the season, the team announced on Thursday.

The Blue Devils have one non-conference game remaining on their current slate, a home game against Gardner-Webb on December 19.

Duke Men’s Basketball @DukeMBB

UPDATE: We will forgo our remaining non-conference regular-season games for the 2020-21 season. Next up is Notre Dame next Wednesday in South Bend. https://t.co/z3uSVAXjqe

"Making sure that we're doing the right thing for our players, just for safety, we're not going to play any non-conference games," head coach Mike Krzyzewski said. "We're not going to try to reschedule three games. We're going to play conference and hopefully get to play all of them."

Contests against Charleston Southern, Elon and Gardner-Webb will be scrapped. 

The Blue Devils will begin ACC play December 16 against Notre Dame, then reconvene to face Pitt on December 29.

As The Athletic's Brendan Marks noted, Duke players have been sequestered in a hotel, leaving only to attend class and practice in the basketball facilities. The break in the schedule will allow players to return to their homes for a short break and visit with family. 

Players will be allowed to leave after the Notre Dame game and are expected back on campus by December 23 to go through testing protocols and resume practice. 

"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. "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. So we will play the Notre Dame game on December 16, and then allow our team four or five days at home before returning here to prepare for the remainder of our ACC schedule—and hopefully get to play all of them. These kids go through so much, and we need to take care of them."