Today would’ve been the best day of the sports calendar — the opening day of the NCAA Tournament. Unfortunately, that’s not happening. The cancellation of March Madness is for good reason, if we all carried on, there wouldn’t be anybody to sit in the West Stands for football season.
The cruelest part of the lack of tournament is that fans, players and coaches won’t get a chance to ever find out what the ultimate fate of the 2019-20 BYU Cougars basketball team. So, now, a great big “What if?”
In a strange way, the lack of tournament is likely good news for the legacy of this season’s team. Now, fans are left to the theater of the mind — which is almost exclusively more kind than reality.
For the next 10, 20, forever years, the 2019-20 Cougars will be the what we saw was brilliant, but it tragically ended too soon team. The painter whose painting’s go way up in value as soon as they die team. The “Forever 27 Club” team.
Cougar fans will reminisce on this season. It is going to sound the same.
“They had Yoeli Childs — top rebounder and 6th all-time in points, TJ Haws — a top ten all-time scorer and fabulous playmaker, and Jake Toolson — the best 3-point shooter in the country. They had a guard, a wing, and a post. They were able to play and win in all sorts of ways including a smack down of #2 Gonzaga at home. That should they could play with anyone and beat anyone on any given night. They would’ve been a 5-6 seed. That was a sweet 16 team! And then — who knows!”
Maybe so. Or maybe they get upset. We will never know.
Not knowing for sure is always fodder for good sports debate. In this case, it won’t really a debate among Cougar faithful. It’ll be consensus opinion. It will be spoken about for decades to come. In that way, the tournament cancellation probably does more for this team’s legacy than if they would’ve played the games. (BUT MAYBE NOT!)
Despite that legacy bump, we would all rather have had the chance to see what would’ve happened.