Thursday was a rollercoaster of a day for many involved in sports. Coronavirus concerns led to all major sports leagues suspending, postponing or canceling their games.
It was especially a wild day for several college basketball programs across the country including the Maryland Terrapins.
As one of the top teams in the country, not only did the Terrapins aspire to win the Big Ten Tournament but also win and compete for the national championship. Throughout a manic of a college basketball season, they were one of the few teams that were perennially ranked in the AP Top 25. Like many teams across the country, the cancelation of the tournament surely hit them hard.
Maryland head coach Mark Turgeon joined ESPN anchor and Terps alum Scott Van Pelt on SportsCenter to discuss the eventful day.
“It’s devastating, we knew it was going this way,” Turgeon said on the NCAA canceling their postseason tournament. “They did the right thing. They had to do it with everything that’s going on out there. It still kills ya. It hurts.”
Maryland was not scheduled to play on Thursday. They were still planning on watching the nightcap game of the Big Ten tournament – Indiana vs. Penn State – to find out their opponent. It was one of four games on the docket for the day.
By now everyone knows none of those games took place. The tournament was canceled just minutes before the action began on the court. Gameplay that would have taken place without fans.
Upon the cancelation, Turgeon and his coaches met with the team. They got together and were making plans to prepare for the upcoming NCAA Tournament that they would have received an at-large bid for. Later in the day, the NCAA canceled March Madness and the remaining championships for the winter and spring sports seasons.
Turgeon says the team will meet tomorrow and they’ll debrief on the season. The one thing that the Terrapins can take solace in is that they played their last basketball on the season by cutting down the nets on their home floor.
“I thank God for that moment. I was kind of acting like a fool on Sunday. I was so excited, I just knew what went into this season and this great league,” Turgeon said. “I was really happy it was on senior day and Anthony (Cowan Jr.) got a curtain call. That’s one great thing about this, if there is a silver lining, our last moment together was cutting down nets and winning a share of the Big Ten regular-season championship. It was a great day, a day we’ll always remember.”
He told his team earlier in the day, “the one thing guys, they can’t take the championship away from us.”
It an unprecedented situation. For decision-makers and coaches, it’s an unenviable position and an unbelievable set of circumstances. There is so much that goes into a season. Not only to finish the year but to get the team playing a peak performance come the championship. Now that effort and that energy won’t result in a chance to achieve their goals.
“Just watching how happy everyone was and giving a hug to Anthony on senior day and cutting down those nets, that took a lot of hard work. And the thing that makes this tough is as players and coaches you work so hard to try to get to the NCAA Tournament and try to have a chance to win it and you sacrifice so much of your life, from your family, from everything just trying to make it work and that’s really hard for all of us to grasp right now. All the things we give up and now we don’t get the opportunity to play in the tournament.”
MORE NCAA NEWS: