What we Would Have Seen on Selection Sunday
Selection Sunday is like a holiday to college basketball fans. Hearing your favorite school’s name called on that Sunday night in March is a rush unlike any other. Sadly, no one will be able to feel that rush this year. The 2020 NCAA Tournament was canceled last week due to the spread of the coronavirus in the United States.
No brackets. No Cinderellas. No national champion. No March Madness at all.
It’s an unprecedented time in the world of sports. Coaches and players just saw their seasons vanish in the blink of an eye. There were so many fascinating storylines this season that will never have closure, but we can still bring them to light and dream of what could have been.
Let’s take a look at what we would have seen on Selection Sunday 2020.
Dayton receives its first No. 1 seed in school history
If you didn’t believe Dayton had what it took to hang with the blue bloods this season, you were in for a rude awakening come late March.
The Flyers were a legitimate national title contender and one of the best offensive teams in the country. Dayton ranked 12th in the nation in scoring offense at 80.0 points per game and led the NCAA in field goal percentage (52.5 percent). National Player of the Year candidate Obi Toppin led the way with 20.0 points per game.
Toppin was about to become a household name across the country. His high-flying dunks found their way to Sportscenter frequently, but Toppin was more than just a dunker. The sophomore shot a mindboggling 63.3 percent in 2020 and 39 percent from three. He also led the Flyers in rebounds and blocked shots.
ESPN’s Joe Lunardi had the Flyers pegged as the No. 1 seed in the East region in his final version of Bracketology. The Flyers had won 20 straight games entering the postseason. Their only two losses came to Kansas and Colorado, both in overtime and on neutral floors.
Dayton had its best team in the history of its program by far this season. It’s a shame this bunch won’t have a chance to compete for the national title.
Would bubble teams Rutgers, Texas Tech, and UCLA make the field?
The bubble this year was a jumbled mess, with a number of teams vying for the final four spots in the field of 68. There were plenty of storylines emanating from the bubble teams this season.
Rutgers looked like it was on its way to its first NCAA Tournament appearance since 1991. The Scarlet Knights went 20-11 and 18-1 at home this season. They had a host of impressive wins against Seton Hall, Maryland, and Penn State.
Texas Tech was coming off a historical season that ended in a loss to Virginia in the national title game. Head coach Chris Beard lost a ton of talent from last year’s team, but the young 2020 group had the chance to make a surprise run this season.
UCLA, in its first year under Mick Cronin, limped out of the starting gate but became one of the hottest teams in the country entering the postseason. The Bruins won seven of their last eight to finish 19-12.
Which teams would be celebrating and which would be left out on Sunday night? We’ll never know.
Could seniors like Cassius Winston and Myles Powell finish their careers with a title?
The 2020 season of college basketball featured a historic senior class. Cassius Winston, Myles Powell, Markus Howard, and Lamar Stevens — just to name a few — all had incredible careers that won’t have a happy ending.
For Winston, he had Michigan State playing its best basketball of the season. The Spartans finished the regular season with five straight wins, four of which were against ranked teams. Winston is one of the smartest and most clutch players in the sport, and he could’ve led Michigan State to a deep run in March.
Powell and Howard were two of the most electrifying scorers in college basketball. Both guards had the ability to shoot their teams to a Final Four a la Kemba Walker for UCONN in 2011.
Stevens was just seven points away from becoming Penn State’s all-time leading scorer. Unfortunately, he’ll be stuck in second forever. Stevens was about to lead the Nittany Lions to their first NCAA Tournament berth since 2011. He stayed for his senior season to break the scoring record and play in March Madness, but neither will come to fruition.