Coronavirus: UD’s season ends with NCAA cancellation

Thursday was a stunning day across the country, and for a Flyers team that was preparing for the A10 tournament.  Instead of game planning and practice, the team headed home from New York.  With the NCAA announcing that the tournament is cancelled, the Flyers season will end at 29-2.

This was, perhaps, the best team in UD history, with a season that came tantalizingly close to being undefeated.  They only had two losses, both in overtime, including an early loss to #1 Kansas and a December loss to Colorado.  The Flyers were undefeated in the A10.

Instead of the school’s first #1 seed in the NCAA tournament, and a real chance for a national championship, the players and fans will be left to wonder what could have been.  It is a stunning turn of events for a team, and a fanbase, who had so much excitement and hope this year.

“It’s a tough day for players,” said UD Athletic Director Neil Sullivan.  “Adults may have been through some things before and maybe have a certain perspective, but some things are bigger than basketball.”

The Flyers were not scheduled to play until Friday, but players had already been in New York, preparing for Friday’s game. News Center 7 Sports Director Mike Hartsock had flown to New York to cover the A10 tournament, and the commercial airline only had a few people on it.  Mostly, it was empty seats. The games were supposed to be played in an empty arena.  Instead, basketball fans are left feeling empty.

Larry Hansgen, the voice of the Flyers on WHIO radio, simply tweeted, “I need some time before I say anything.”

Senior guard Trey Landers, the Wayne High School star, will graduate.  He tweeted, “I wish all of this was just a dream that I could wake up from ... Wish i could play one more game with my brothers .”

The cancellation of the tournament also means Senior Ryan Mikesell has played his last game with the Flyers. In his four seasons on the court UD won 99 games. Mikesell sat out the 2017-18 season, his third on campus, rehabbing from off-season surgeries on both hips. The record for wins by a senior class is 102 set by the 2017 senior class.  If Dayton won the A-10 tournament he would have tied that mark with a chance to surpass it in the NCAA Tournament.

And the basketball world was taken by storm this year by star player Obi Toppin, the A10 player of the year.  Much of the excitement this year was for the national audience to see Toppin and his nightly highlight reel.  Toppin is expected to be a top NBA draft pick, and it’s expected he, too, has played his last game for the Flyers.

In 2020, the Flyers have not lost a game.  But this season’s team has lost the chance to be national champions.

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