March 19 was supposed to be one of those fun days if you’re a college basketball fan.
After all, Thursday is the first true day of March Madness, known as the NCAA men’s basketball tournament. Granted, the “First Four” games were scheduled to be played on Tuesday, but that Thursday of 12 hours of college basketball is one of the most anticipated and exciting times in all of sports.
Instead, all of college athletics has been shut down for the academic year due to the COVID-19 virus.
However, that hardly eases the distress of college basketball fans. If you’re not a fan, you just don’t understand what we hoop lovers are going through right now.
That being said, life will go on and sports will resume at some point.
It was a wacky year in college basketball as nobody could control the No. 1 spot for very long other than Baylor, which ultimately lost three of its last five games.
Five top-five teams lost to unranked teams 18 times this season as compared to only six last year.
Kansas looked like the favorite going into the tournament but it was hardly a guarantee. So, it’s almost fitting that such a wacky season will end without a champion.
There were potential great storylines out there like Dayton and San Diego State looking to make a Final Four run after magical regular seasons.
The Big Ten was likely to get a whopping 10 teams in the tournament. East Tennessee and Belmont were poised to represent the Volunteer State.
We’re also going to miss out on those first-round upsets that bust your bracket every year.
But when you get right down to it, basketball means very little or nothing during these times.
People have lost their lives and more deaths are imminent. Some businesses could shut down for good and others are taking a huge financial hit. Bartenders, waitresses, retail and other part-time workers are taking a hit in their wallet.
The NCAA tournament is the cash cow for all college basketball teams, but universities and programs will survive.
So will college basketball fans. We might not like it, and we might be selfish in hating the fact the tournament won’t happen this year.
However, people who are more informed than most of us were forced to make a tough decision, and it was certainly the right one.
NBA, baseball, golf, soccer and NASCAR fans are feeling the same angst these days.
But these days will pass, and as MTSU women’s basketball coach Rick Insell so eloquently put it, “you have to hope a negative turns into a positive.”
Reach Murfreesboro Post sports editor Monte Hale at email@example.com.