Duke postponed its scheduled home opener after the Blue Devils' opponent, Gardner-Webb, had a member of its program test positive for COVID-19. The game was scheduled for Wednesday, but now, Duke's home opener will be on Nov. 28 against Coppin State, barring any more setbacks.
"This postponement comes following a positive COVID-19 test within the Gardner-Webb program," Duke said in a statement. "The teams may look to make up the game at a later date should schedules permit."
With this game either canceled or postponed, Duke will now only have the game against Coppin State before facing off against Michigan State on Dec. 1. Duke is currently ranked No. 9 in the AP's preseason rankings and is expected to be a title contender.
However, like every other sport, college basketball will need to avoid too many COVID outbreaks in order to have any real chance of finishing the season. Last season, the NCAA had to cancel March Madness due to the coronavirus pandemic. Now it will attempt to complete the season, though there are questions about how exactly March Madness will be executed, assuming the pandemic is still happening by then.
Duke is not the only team having its season affected by COVID before it can begin. Arizona State announced earlier Monday that it was withdrawing from the Empire Classic following No. 2 Baylor basketball head coach Scott Drew testing positive for COVID-19. The Sun Devils were scheduled to play the Bears on Wednesday, but on Sunday, Drew announced his positive test. Baylor still intended to play the game as scheduled, as Drew said he was asymptomatic and no players or staff members had tested positive, but Arizona State called it off.