Mihalich On WFAN: ‘It’s OK To Be Brokenhearted’

Hofstra Basketball Misses Out On Playing In NCAA Tournament

Moose & Maggie
March 13, 2020 - 2:45 pm

Hofstra University’s men’s basketball team hasn’t played in the NCAA Tournament since 2001. That was supposed to change this year, after they defeated Northeastern to win the Colonial Athletic Association Tournament Tuesday night.

Necessary decisions were made Thursday afternoon, canceling the NCAA Tournament amid concerns with the rapidly spreading coronavirus, but players can still be upset about missing out on what was a once in a lifetime opportunity.

To a much different tune than his WFAN appearance earlier in the week celebrating their Tournament birth, Hofstra men's basketball coach Joe Mihalich again joined Marc Malusis and Maggie Gray. But this time it was to discuss the disappointment of Hofstra not being able to play in their first NCAA Tournament since 2001.

“It was a very difficult message to deliver,” Mihalich said regarding having to tell his team the NCAA Tournament was canceled. “Tuesday night a dream came true, we were literally on cloud nine, climbing up ladders, cutting down nets and all of that stuff. And less than 48 hours later, it’s a nightmare.”

Noting it’s OK for his players to be heartbroken, the Hofstra men’s basketball coach kept things in perspective and recognized the severity of the issue at hand.

“Let’s not forget that there must be a very serious reason why this is happening, we have to be sympathetic and understanding to that,” Mihalich said. “If there’s a global a medical issue out there, then we have to put that first and foremost.”

Hofstra guard Jalen Ray (20) and others raise the trophy after defeating Northeastern in an NCAA college basketball game for the championship of the Colonial Athletic Association men's tournament Tuesday, March 10, 2020, in Washington. Hofstra won 70-61.
Nick Wass/AP

There has been some talk that the NCAA should at least announce the bracket. Even if there was no chance of delaying the tournament, it still gives teams and students a chance to look back and be proud of what they accomplished during the season.

“I heard somebody say let’s have Selection Sunday, lets’ put the field of 68 together, hopefully we get this pandemic under control and we have May Madness. What’s wrong with that?” Mihalich said. “Let’s have a tournament in May, it would be kinda cool.”

With students losing out on the opportunity to play in both conference and the NCAA Tournament this college basketball season, the question of whether or not seniors should be given an extra year of eligibility has been posed. But Mihalich doesn’t believe that will happen.

“I think at the end of the day, people are going to conclude there are more reasons not to do that, than to do it,” coach said. “we did play the full season and I know there’s a little bit of a push to do that and I don’t want to be pessimistic, but I think people will come up with more reasons not to do that than to do it.

The Hofstra basketball coach offered his final message to players, saying “we have to respect that there’s a serious medical issue going on out there."

“We’re in the world of sports and athletics,” Mihalich continued. “’I’ve heard somebody say we’re in the toy section of the department store of life. Let’s make sure everyone is healthy and the world can go on as we know it.”

Click the audio player above to hear the full interview with Joe Mihalich