The VCU Men’s Basketball Team has been eliminated from the 2021 NCAA Basketball Tournament due to COVID-19 protocols. The team was scheduled to play in the first round against Oregon on Saturday, March 20th. However, three hours before the game, when the team was having their pregame meal, VCU head coach Mike Rhoades received word that, due to an outbreak of COVID cases, his team would not be able to play this game. As a result, Oregon would advance to the 2nd round to play Iowa on March 22nd at 12:10PM, and VCU would be out of the tournament.
Rhoades said “It was devastating, it was heartbreaking. No dry eyes. This is what you dream of as a college player and a coach. To get it taken away like this, it was a heartbreaking moment in their young lives.”
As disappointed as he was for his team, Rhoades noted that safety is still a priority. “As hard as this is right now, it’s still a basketball game. The No. 1 priority for me is to make sure our guys get healthy.” He also pointed out that former VCU Basketball player, Justin Tillman, lost both of his parents to COVID-19.
VCU Athletic Director Ed McLaughlin made the following statement on the VCU website. “With the utmost disappointment, our men’s basketball program will head home from the NCAA Tournament. We are heartbroken for our student-athletes, coaches, campus community and fans. The members of our program did an excellent job following COVID-19 protocols all year so ending our season in this manner hurts even more.”