RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Just hours after celebrating a buzzer-beater win against Syracuse, UVA fans around the Commonwealth were feeling defeated Friday morning.
The team having to bow out of the ACC tournament because of a COVID-19 positive test was a dagger in the heart for die-hard UVA basketball fans and for area bars hoping to score some business from the semifinal Friday against Georgia Tech.
It’s why Sportspage Bar & Grille owner Kim Mitchell says she is bummed.
“Local teams are always a big draw for us,” said Mitchell.
UVA is the reigning NCAA Men’s Basketball National Champions from 2019. Mitchell said it is a blow for business. While there was a good crowd for the early games Friday afternoon she was expected more turnout Friday night. She said, “As you can see people are itching to get out. They’re itching to watch basketball and 6:30 right in the middle of dinner, it was going to be like gangbuster and wah wah.”
After the Coronavirus cancelled the big dance last year, turning March Madness into March sadness for sports bars, Mitchell admitted she’s worried.
“March is one of our best months. You think well, will they be able to play? It’s just a week away,” she said.
Inside Sportspage and sharing that worry Friday was a heartbroken and huge UVA fan. Mike Truitt of Chesterfield had planned to be at the game.
“I was expecting to go to the game today,” Truitt said. “I had booked my hotel room and an hour later my wife called me and said hey you’re game’s canceled you’re not going and I was devastated.”
Truitt takes off work for the tournament. He said, “This is my favorite time of year.” Now he wonders if the champs will even get to the dance and if the whole season for men’s college basketball could be in jeopardy.
“I still haven’t gotten over last year’s tournament being canceled,” he said.
Kansas also withdrew from the Big 12 tournament Friday after a positive COVID-19 case. That lead to the cancellation of their semifinal matchup and earlier this week COVID took Duke out of the ACC tournament.