The NCAA took the next step and officially cancelled the rest of the spring sports. While lots of sports — softball, lacrosse, etc — are affected, the biggest event is the men’s basketball tournament that generates millions of dollars for the association and its members each year. The nature of the pandemic is one that meets the level of this response. The ramifications for this league are huge, however. The league had to cancel the conference tournament and while North Texas was designated the official representative for the automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament, there will be no games played for the league’s champion. That means there will (presumably) be no revenue share to the leagues.
North Texas was a favorite to win the tournament but the rest of the field was formidable. WKU wanted revenge for the loss in Denton recently. There was some twitter back-and-forth between a couple of players on both the Mean Green and Hilltopper squads discussing the merits of celebrating a title with no tournament played. Louisiana Tech had a good squad that could beat anyone and Charlotte had over performed expectations and was sitting nicely at a 4-seed.
Obviously, FAU, UAB, FIU, and Marshall all had outside chances of advancing or at least making some big memories this weekend.
On the women’s side, there is the same sense of loss and disappointment. Every one of these athletes knows the full value of the each of these games — there are already a limited number of them available and they all had a reasonable expectation of deciding exactly how many more opportunities they would have on the court.
We dislike the use of “taken” as in “it was taken from them” as it was never really theirs to begin with and no-one is doing any taking. Rather, this is just a reminder that life promises nothing and gives less. We all like to joke about this league and its place in the greater hierarchy of college basketball but the truth is that the criticism should not venture into the realm of not appreciating it. CUSA basketball is quality. The Hoops at the Star is quirky, but the organizers put on a good event that is good value for the money. There are good athletes competing at a very high level, providing real human drama and quality entertainment.