By HAL McCOY
It had to be done. It had to happen. It couldn’t be avoided.
That, though, doesn’t make it hurt any less.
The coronavirus did what most college basketball teams couldn’t do. It ended the magical mystery ride of the University of Dayton basketball season.
Many experts, including this non-expert, thought the Flyers could win the NCAA tournament. Now, we’ll never know and that’s a damn shame.
It would have been an opportunity for UD to show the Negative Nancys that it is among the elite. True, the Atlantic 10 isn’t one of the Top Five conferences, but the Flyers went 18-and-0 in conference play, winning all nine road games. Winning road games in college basketball is as difficult as winning the lottery twice, but the Flyers breezed through it.
It would have been an opportunity for Obi Toppin to show the sporting world what he is all about — and it is more than rim-bending dunks. It was more about team play and his ability to find the open man.
It would have been an opportunity for Jalen Crutcher to show that he is one of the best point cards in captivity, a pure shooter and a selfless seeker of the open man.
It would have been an opportunity for seniors Trey Landers and Ryan Mikesell to go out as national champions. It was so sad to read that Mikesell told his father, “My basketball career is over.”
And although the NIT is a sad consolation prize, it would have been an opportunity for Wright State to salvage something about their off night against UIC in the Horizon League tournament.
They can’t take away the fantastic season the Raiders put together, but the coronovirus makes the pain of that devastating loss even more painful. The Raiders could have gone out with a couple more victories.
While Major League Baseball may only miss a couple of weeks, they’ve yanked Opening Day away from the Cincinnati Reds, a natural holiday for Reds fans.
So many are so excited about the team’s prospects with the additions of Nick Castellanos, Mike Moustakas, Wade Miley and Pedro Strop.
But spring training has been wiped out and at least two weeks of the season is gone. And when MLB deems it safe to resume the season, the teams will need a couple of weeks to get ready, especially the pitchers.
Of course, it isn’t just the sports world that has been dealt raw deals. Businesses will take a heavy hit.
All the revenue Dayton businesses expected from the First Four is gone. Restaurants along Brown Stree near the UD campus are deserted because the school is closed. Restaurants and hotels on The Banks near Great American Ball Park are bracing for major losses.
It is sad, so sad. Unfortunately, for the health and well-being of the population, it all had to be done.
But it hurts. It hurts bad.