The VCU Rams – led by head coach and Mahanoy City native Mike Rhoades – have been eliminated from the NCAA Mens Basketball Tournament.
They didn’t lose their opening game, however. Instead, the team was removed from the tournament due to a growing number of positive COVID-19 tests among the team’s players.
VCU learned that they wouldn’t be playing Saturday night just a few hours before their game against the Oregon Ducks was scheduled to tip off.
VCU Eliminated from NCAA Tournament by COVID
“We’ve been tested every day for the past three weeks, but in the past 48 hours, we’ve received multiple positive tests,” Rhoades is quoted as saying in a tweet issued by the VCU basketball account. “We are devastated for our coaches and players. It has been a dream for all of us to play in the NCAA tournament. We appreciate the care of our doctors and administration this year, and all our efforts and attention will be put into our players at this time. Life isn’t always fair but it’s about how you deal with it and move forward.”
Saturday’s game was the first of the tournament to be called off due to COVID. NCAA ruled it “uncontested” and Oregon advances to the Round of 32.
“It was devastating,” Rhoades told Yahoo! Sports on Saturday evening. “It was heartbreaking. No dry eyes. This is what you dream of as a player and a college coach. To get it taken away like this … A lot of times in life, it’s not fair. This is one of those times. We’re going to deal with this together.”
This would have been Rhoades’ second appearance as VCU head coach in his 4 years at the Atlantic 10 Conference school. VCU finished the 2020-21 season with a 19-7 record and returned to March Madness after missing out on the tournament last year.
Rhoades was the 1995 Division III Player of the Year and won a National Championship as a player in 1994 at Lebanon Valley College.