This Year's March Madness Will Be Played Without Fans

Mahlik Campbell sports /
SAN JOSE, CALIFORNIA - MARCH 24: Liberty Flames fans cheer during the first half against the Virginia Tech Hokies during the second round of the 2019 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at SAP Center on March 24, 2019 in San Jose, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

Following the recent postponement of Coachella, the coronavirus has forced yet another major event in the U.S. to drastically shift its plans.

On Wednesday evening, the NCAA made the tough decision to host its upcoming annual March Madness basketball tournament on both the men's and women's side without fans.

"While I understand how disappointing this is for all fans of our sports, my decision is based on the current understanding of how COVID-19 is progressing in the United States," NCAA president Mark Emmert said. "This decision is in the best interest of public health, including that of coaches, administrators, fans and, most importantly, our student-athletes."

He also said that canceling the tournaments was considered.

Shocking would be an understatement. It's hard to imagine how March Madness, one of the most fan-fueled events in sports, will be able to deliver the same thrill without thousands of passionate students, alumni and other legions of fans going buck wild in the stands.

It'll be a surreal entertainment experience, that's for sure. Some games will probably teeter on the edge of boring, like watching a one-sided practice scrimmage on live TV. Can't say I've ever imagined, let alone witnessed, this kind of highly anticipated sports moment absent of fans.

Along with the players, staff and limited family will be allowed to attend the games. You can bet some die-hard followers are going to try and finesse their way into that last category. "Yeah, #22, he's my half-brother's second cousin, bro. We grew up together." 😂

Soon after the news broke, the internet had a field day.

One of the most hilarious memes repurposed a clip of the game-winning buzzer-beater that gave Villanova the national championship in 2016. But the original sounds of anticipation and elation are replaced by the awkward silence of sneakers squeaking across the court, players grunting, and a small, short round of applause.

You can see this video as well as some other hilarious interpretations below.