Maddening Problems – March Madness

Posted by on March 19th, 2015  •  0 Comments  • 

So the NCAA Tourney kicks into high gear around the country today.  Everybody shooting to knock off, knock out, and unseat, the unbeaten (34-0) Kentucky Wildcats.
The first weekend of the tourney is a sight to behold.  Which highly seeded team will step on a landmine and go down at the hands of some bottom ranked team?  Yes a David or two will slay a Goliath.  By the way, where is the Patriot League?.
For every big time quality team like UK-Villanova-Arizona, there will be stunning teams with a win representing a conference you know next to nothing about.
Probably in the next 48-hours we will be celebrating something like a Florida Gulf Coast, a George Mason, or a Harvard will accomplish.  But time and big teams will catch up to them, and by the Final Four weekend, we will be talking for the most part about the big names, and the big name players about to leave to go to the NBA.
And that’s the problem basketball really has.  The NBA has wrecked its own game, and the draft rules have wreaked havoc on college basketball.
Aside from the Dream Teams the NBA has allowed to be put together, the Cavaliers this year, the Miami Heat in the past, has free agency really been good for the league?  Salary caps, contract dumpings, and teams tanking have become the focal point of conversations now.  Does anybody really care for a Sacramento Kings-Milwaukee Bucks game in mid-week?  Does anybody know anyone playing on the Brooklyn Nets or Charlotte Hornets?
The NBA has become about five big money franchises, and virtually nothing else.  The rest of the teams and the games, mean little.  Of course bad management has managed to destroy the heritage franchises that used to be the Celtics, Lakers and Knicks.
But the college game is suffering too.  No one of the blue-chip recruits in college hoops plays more than 1-year.  1-and-Done has weakened the NBA product,and for the most part has taken away the quality of the college game too.  Oh of course the bluebloods like (34-0) Kentucky seem to reload not rebuild, but name me many other traditional powers who are what they used to be.  Google UCLA if you wish. 
Scoring is down, shooting is down, defense is down.  The conference season seems to have been cheapened.  The post season conference tourneys now have next to no meaning at all.
The phrase student-athlete seems fraudulent too.  Sign your letter of intent, sign up for 1-semester of classes in the fall, play the season, sign up for the NBA draft.  For every rookie sensation like Anthony Davis of the New Orleans Pelicans, there is a Jamal Franklin, the ex Aztec, who left early, playing somewhere now in China, with no degree and no NBA hopes anymore.
All that really matters is March Madness, and what happens beginning this morning at arenas nationwide.
The NBA is arguing about the age limit.  Push the limit to 20, make players stay in school two full years, to grow as talent, and grow as people.  Make the NBA-D-League more of an instructional league for those who don’t make opening night rosters, as an extension of college experiences.  
The college game rules need fixing.  Quality of play is falling off.  Too many TV timeouts and coaches time outs.  Adopt a better shot clock.  Keep players in school longer to polish their skills.
Alan Iverson would yell ‘it’s just practice man-practice’.  Shaquille O’Neal would lecture you ‘it’s all about the bling’.  And that is what’s wrong with college basketball now.  Not enough quality because of lack of practice, and inexperienced players.  Too much emphasis on much money for a chosen few.
March Madness may be fun to watch a Davidson upset, or a Butler buzzer beater, but the big picture of the game, is not a pretty picture at all, no matter how many games bleary eyed fans will watch between now and Sunday night.
March Madness may mean one thing on TV.  March madness should mean something more important about the state of the game.
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