'No template for this': ACC basketball coaches cope with pandemic uncertainty

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- The ACC's basketball coaches held their first league-wide zoom media call Monday and as you'd expect, navigating a college basketball season in the midst of a worsening pandemic was a major topic of discussion.

"Thirty-two games were listed as postponed or canceled on that one scroll that I had off my phone, so I think it's going to get worse," UNC coach Roy Williams said.

There was no faux optimism from Williams on Monday. He knows the realities of the pandemic and why it continues to get worse.

"I'm scared to death about the spike that we see all around the country right now and some people just think they're invincible and some people still think that it's a hoax," he said.

While it's been an up-and-down year results-wise, Williams' Tar Heels have thus far not missed a game because of COVID-19. Duke and NC State haven't been so lucky. The Pack has had four games canceled and one postponed.

"I like that our guys and every other team is together. If we send all of our kids out separately and they weren't playing basketball I think it would affect them more than it is now," NC State coach Kevin Keatts said.

Duke's women opted out entirely and the men's team hasn't played a game since December 16. Five games in all have been scrapped or delayed. Coach Mike Krzyzewski is currently quarantining after a family member tested positive. He and his wife, Mickie, have so far tested negative, still, he won't be on the sidelines for at least one more and possibly two games.

"There really there's no template for this. I'm glad that so many teams have been able to get in games and I feel bad for our guys," Krzyzewski said.

Despite the chaotic nature of the season all three coaches are still in favor of moving forward cautiously.

"I haven't been comfortable a single moment with everything we're doing, but I think it's the right thing to do as long as we keep our eyes and ears open and use our brain," Williams said.

The NCAA announced on Monday that the entire men's basketball tournament will be held in and around Indianapolis this year, aiming for the latter half of March. Keatts and Williams would rather see it delayed.

"The virus seems like it's taken off a little bit more and it's taken over a little bit more," Keatts said. "You know, I wish we had extra time to get more games in because there are going to be cancellations."

It's not about pointing fingers but the lack of control has to be frustrating for coaches, who are used to having control of their programs.

"It's nobody's fault. I don't blame Pitt or Florida State or whatever. We have no control over it but we do have control over then how we react to it," Krzyzewski said. "We're just trying to react in a very positive way."
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