TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - There will be no University of Arizona sporting events anytime in the near future.
Every game, match and meet was canceled by the Pac-12 Conference Thursday, March 12, due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Late Wednesday, the conference had said sporting events would go on as planned, but fans would be banned from attending. That changed just a few hours later after professional leagues and college conferences across the country canceled or suspended their seasons.
While the Pac-12 events were scrapped, the University of Arizona men’s and women’s basketball teams still had a chance to play a few more games.
That hope ended around 1 p.m. Thursday, when the NCAA canceled its men’s and women’s basketball tournaments.
The Arizona men’s team was playing in the Pac-12 tournament when it was called off. Arizona beat Washington Wednesday and was scheduled to face Southern Cal in a quarterfinal game Thursday.
The Wildcats (21-11) were all but guaranteed a spot in the NCAA tournament, regardless of how they finished in the Pac-12 event.
Arizona fans will now have to look to next season.
While the Wildcats had only one senior, they could lose a few freshmen phenoms (Nico Mannion, Josh Green and Zeke Nnaji) to the NBA draft.
The Arizona women’s team (24-7), which failed to make the tournament last season before winning the WNIT title, was expected to get a high seed this year and make some noise during March Madness.
The NCAA’s decision likely means the end of the college career for a host of Wildcats, including Amari Carter, Dominique McBryde, Lucia Alonso and Tee Tee Starks.
The good news for Wildcat fans is that the team’s top three scorers -- Aari McDonald (20.6 points per game), Cate Reese (13.6 ppg) and Sam Thomas (9.5 ppg) -- all should return next season.
Arizona, led by head coach Adia Barnes, will be a force to be reckoned with next season and could challenge Oregon and UCLA for Pac-12 dominance.