Sports Update: The Year of the N(ot)CAA Tournament (4/9/20) By: Noah Thompson
For the first time in 81 years, the NCAA Men’s and Women’s basketball tournaments will not be played due to the worldwide pandemic of Coronavirus. The virus has ruined a lot of things, causing them to be cancelled or postponed, but for a lot of people, this one stings the most. The NCAA Tournament, also known as “March Madness”, is one of the most electrifying events in sports. With teams like Virginia losing to the University of Maryland Baltimore County in the first round of the 2018 NCAA tournament and then winning it all in 2019, sports fans won’t get to witness any type of madness in 2020.
This was an interesting year in college hoops all around. Unlike many years in the past, there wasn’t a clear best team in the country, it was almost if it was anyone’s title to win. Teams such as Baylor, Kansas, Duke, Florida State, Louisville, Gonzaga, Michigan State, Kentucky, etc. had a good team coming into the tournament and could have strong arguments of what they could have done in the tournament. But let’s think of the uncommon teams that may have had a run in the big dance.
At a record of 29-2, conference champions, finishing at 3 in the AP poll, and arguably having the best college player in the country in Obi Toppin, the Flyers have to be the most disappointed team during this national pandemic. This team was legit. Dayton is always a tournament team, but always seems to be in the mid-to-high seeds. They were a clear number one seed in this tournament, and if you’re Dayton you have to be devastated to have never seen the chance to make a name for yourself and bring home a 2020 national championship.
San Diego State Aztecs:
Finishing with a 30-2 record, San Diego State had something to prove in the tournament after losing their conference championship to Utah State. The Aztecs were making noise all year long in the Mountain West Conference, and believed they could have been a #1 seed. You don’t always think of San Diego State as a big basketball program in March Madness, but they were hungry and looking to prove that they belong as one of the best teams in the country.
Now, of course there were a lot of good teams in the country this year, and there seems to be a list of teams that are always good, such as the blue bloods. Duke, Kansas, Kentucky, and North Carolina. Three out of the four teams listed here were tournament teams. The one of them that is not is the mighty Tar Heels from North Carolina, and are they glad this season had no tournament.
With one of the worst years in recent history for Tar Heel Basketball, UNC has to be relieved that they don’t have to watch all of their peers playing on the playground without them. Finishing with a record of 14-19 (6-14 ACC play) the Tar Heels season started promising. With quality wins over Notre Dame, Alabama, and Oregon the Heels looked to be in the driving seat just as usual, but the wheels fell off in December. Of course, losing your best player to injury in Cole Anthony, doesn’t help, but with a hall of fame coach, there had to be a way to fix this right? Indeed there was. A national pandemic called Coronavirus.
The 2019-2020 Men’s college basketball season itself may be forgotten down the road and teams such as San Diego State, Gonzaga, Dayton, Florida State, Kansas, Baylor, Louisville, etc. are going to always think about the 2020 NCAA Tournament “what if’s”. But there is at least one team that is sure thankful to have dodged a bullet in missing the 2020 NCAA Tournament anyway.