PEORIA, Ill. — It’s been a whirlwind 48 hours for Bradley basketball. From playing the NCAA tournament with no fans in the stands to no tournament whatsoever. The MVC tournament champion Braves now have to come to terms with their 23-win season being over.
“I think its been kind of sad just knowing theres no March Madness,” Bradley senior Darrell Brown said. “I think if you’re a player that’s not in the tournament or you’re a player thats in the tournament, especially if you wanted to continue and go on. But at the same time, you gotta understand the seriousness of what’s going on.”
The players say its a wide range of emotions but they understand that the cancellation of the NCAA tournament is important, as it will lower the risk of exposure for everyone involved.
“We know its sad for us not going to the NCAA and we want to go out playing in the big dance and stuff like that,” senior Koch Bar said. “But unfortunately we couldn’t do it because of what’s going on. But what’s going on, like I told you, is bigger than basketball.”
Bradley was one of just 10 teams in college basketball to win its conference championship and earn an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament before the cancellation. That’s something the Braves are very thankful for.
“It definetly was one of our goals that we were trying to get to and being able to have the opportunity to do that, I’m grateful that we got to finish the tournament, end on a win,” senior Nate Kennell said. “Not many teams get to do that, so it’s really special. And to do it with this group of guys, I’m just really thankful.”
“I feel like we could have won a couple games to really end the season out on a good note,” junior Elijah Childs said. “It’s just really unfortunate what’s going on, but I think they get it. I’m glad we ended with an MVC title, I’m very thankful for it.”
“Some guys get an opportunity to come back here and three-peat, and as seniors, we couldn’t go out on a better note than winning a championship,” Brown said.