It's not hard to see why college basketball is preferred over the NBA the majority of the time. The atmosphere is far more intense. The offenses are better executed. The defense, well...the defense is actually present. More importantly, these kids generally play harder than their professional counterparts.
Still, as with any sport, there are bound to be mishaps and moments that we would rather forget. No one is perfect, college students especially.
There have been plenty of SportsCenter-worthy moments in the 2012 college basketball season, both good and bad.
Here are seven examples of the latter variety.
I love the opportunity to highlight something from the world of division-III college sports. I love it even more when one of the schools involved happens to be my alma mater.
Luckily for me, Hampden-Sydney was not on the receiving end of this monstrous beat-down.
Last week, Hampden-Sydney College (VA) hosted Patrick Henry College of Purcellville, VA.
Hampden-Sydney, as I can tell you with some authority, is one of the oldest schools in the country and prides itself on good manners and southern hospitality. So, it's a little shocking to see the hurt they put on poor old Patrick Henry.
You really don't need to say much more than that. Especially when SportsCenter deemed it worthy to appear on its show.
Did Patrick Henry show up? Did "Linsanity" make its way down to South-Central Virginia? Were Hampden-Sydney's warmup shots counted towards the score?
All good questions, and I'm not sure of the answer to any of them. All that I can say is that losing by 100 is inexcusable—on any level of collegiate athletics.
Patrick Henry, you should be so ashamed.
College officiating crews have a tough job, no doubt about it. Still, there are some calls that should never, ever be missed.
One such call was completely overlooked during the final seconds of West Virginia's visit to the carrier dome earlier this season.
Down by two with 10 seconds left, West Virginia's Deniz Kilicili rebounded an errant shot from Darrell "Truck" Bryant and put it back up off the glass for what would have let West Virginia tie the game at 63.
Syracuse's Baye Keita, however, managed to pin the ball against the glass. Six inches above the rim. As the ball was on its way down. He goaltended.
It didn't get called.
Syracuse held on to win and West Virginia, along with its fanbase, had a full-on conniption.
At that point in the game, officials, like the players, need to be on point. It was arguably the worst blown call of the year and one that robbed West Virginia of what would have been their biggest win of the season.
Take a bow Mr. official, that was spectacularly awful.
This is embarrassing for two reasons:
1.) Markell Brown exploited Missouri guard Matt Pressey's feeble attempt at defense by jumping into the mesosphere and thundering down a tomahawk slam.
There was nothing nice about it, and Matt Pressey surely learned a very valuable lesson from all this. That is, if you're going to challenge a leaper like Brown, bring it just a tab bit harder than that.
2.) We're looking at you, Markell Brown. The Oklahoma State guard was already carrying a technical with him upon entering this game, and this one effectively gave him the boot and sent him to the locker room early.
Why was he T'd up? Taunting after the dunk.
A play like this carries its own exclamation mark. The post-play jawing should never have happened. It effectively diminishes the impact of the play itself and earns one extra lap at the next team practice.
The moral of the story: Better defense and less trash-talk, and incidents like this can be avoided.
On February 8th, Kansas traveled down to Waco, TX to square off against Baylor.
Baylor jumped out early and seemed to have good control of the game before they started letting a 10-point lead slide in the final nine minutes of the first half.
It all went downhill from that point on for Baylor.
If you're Baylor, it's bad enough to let Kansas come back and beat you at home. It's 1,000 times worse to allow Kansas to do so on the strength of a 32-4 scoring run in the second half.
No, I didn't type that wrong. 32-4.
That brings to mind a phrase I heard quite a lot playing sports growing up when someone was describing a player or team who wasn't exactly the sole embodiment of tenacity: "Soft as cotton."
That's you, Baylor. Letting the Jayhawks go on a run like that in your own house is downright pitiful. Shooting 37 percent from the floor is also laughable at best.
Granted, Kansas is good and has gone over 220-plus games without back-to-back losses. But allowing that kind of scoring surge on your home court is disgraceful to Baylor University, the people of Waco, the state of Texas and bears everywhere.
If there is a front-runner for worst combined shooting performance of the year, Syracuse's trip to Louisville on February 13th is surely it.
There was nothing pretty about this game. Not a single thing. Syracuse went 21-of-61 from the field, good for 34.4 percent.
Pretty bad, right? It gets worse.
How much worse? Try 1-of-15 from behind the arc. That's 6.7 percent shooting from three-point land. Let that sink in for a moment.
Louisville, in an effort to keep things even, shot only slightly better from the field, going 17-of-49, good for 34.7percent, and 5-of-19 from behind the arc (26.3 percent).
Is there anyone out there who's confused as to why this made the list? Good, didn't think so.
With shooting like this, it's hard to imagine that these are two top-20 teams. Syracuse, in particular, is in good position to make a national title run. So why the horrible performance?
Who knows. These things happen, and yet it's a hard thing to sit through coming from teams as good as Syracuse and Louisville. If I were either Rick Pitino or Jim Boeheim, I'd have the film from this game blessed by an old priest and a young priest before playing it.
Texas Tech is extra, extra bad this year. I simply can't put it any other way.
Currently, the Red Raiders rank 317th in the nation in points per game, 309th in rebounds per game, 294th in assists per game and 151st in field-goal percentage. Essentially, that Patrick Henry team featured in the first slide would actually have a shot at beating this 2012 edition of Texas Tech.
Oklahoma, for argument's sake, is not much better (13-11, 3-9 Big-12). Yet they're a top 50 team in the country in rebounding and, let's face it, a better team on paper than Texas Tech.
Oh, I almost forgot, Texas Tech lost 11 straight games coming into its meeting with Oklahoma.
Still, that didn't stop the Raiders from embarrassing the Sooners in Lubbock. Oklahoma shot a dreadful 32.7 percent from the floor and an abysmal 14.3 percent from behind the arch. It really, truly was one of the worst games played all season.
Unlike the slop-fest between Syracuse and Louisville that I already mentioned, this game featured two teams without a hope or a prayer of making the NCAA tournament cut in 2012. With that in mind, you can see how much worse Oklahoma's loss is to a Texas Tech team whose biggest win coming into this game was against North Texas.
If Tech guard Luke Adams (above) looks surprised, he has good reason. Texas Tech probably didn't expect to win, much less in a blowout.
Hang your head, Sooners.
It's not even close, really.
The infamous Pacers/Pistons brawl is still the worst on-court meltdown between two teams in the history of the NBA. Now, the NCAA is [not so] proud to give us its own version of the Auburn Hills smack-down.
It's understandable that tensions would flare between two crosstown rivals. We, as fans, expect things to get a little chippy when bragging rights for the city of Cincinnati are on the line. But to let it get to this point, especially at the college level, is flat out inexcusable. No one involved gets a pass for this—not the players, not the coaches or the officials.
Xavier may have won convincingly, but their win might as well be vacated or, at the very least, be accompanied by an asterisk.
One of the reasons people tune in to college basketball over the NBA is because these kids compete hard and play within the rules. It's a cleaner, purer version of the sport in most cases. This was the exception, however.
This is easily the most embarrassing, troublesome thing to have taken place on a college basketball court all season long in 2012.