While the first weekend of March Madness is one of the best sporting events possible, the tournament loses its momentum as the rounds progress.
By the time the tournament reaches the Final Four, much of the steam has left from the opening weekend, and only fans of those teams are truly excited.
While the NCAA Tournament decreases in excitement, the NBA Playoffs keeps increasing with every round. When the NBA Finals arrive, NBA fans are at the peak of their excitement, as they cannot wait for the series to begin.
While the Final Four is still a great sporting event, the NBA Finals have a leg up when it comes to basketball championships.
What makes the March Madness tournament great is the single-elimination format. However, when it gets to the Final Four, the single elimination style works against itself. As a basketball fan, why wouldn't you want to see the best teams in the league match up as many times as possible?
If the NBA Finals was single elimination, the Miami Heat would be champions right now. The Dallas Mavericks pulled out the win in an intense and highly-viewed series, but none of the drama would have happened if it was single elimination.
Think of all the great moments that have happened in the NBA Finals. Most likely those moments came in games other than Game 1. The series gives fans the opportunity to truly tell who the best team is, and not who got lucky in one game.
What is one of the best things about watching a last-minute shot in basketball? The roar of the home team's crowd or the utter dismay of an away player sinking it against them. In college basketball, the Final Four is in a neutral site, whereas the NBA playoffs is played in each participating team's stadium.
While the fans of the teams in the Final Four certainly travel to the game, there's just an electricity that is captured during an NBA Finals game. Some college games feel this way such as Duke vs. North Carolina, but the Final Four just can't capture it when it is played at a neutral site.
There's something intriguing about watching a player's career develop and being there every step of the way. Watching Kobe win with Shaq and then rebuild years later and win on his own was a great storyline that could never happen in college.
Only being in college for four years certainly hurts the game. Players have the chance to grow and mature in college, but they can't have a full career like they will in the NBA. What Kobe has gone through could never work in a college setting, if only because there's not enough time for him to go through everything in only four years.
Another issue is that of players leaving early. While Anthony Davis or Carmelo Anthony may capture the hearts of millions of basketball fans during their March Madness runs, they will only have that one moment as college players. The most famous basketball player in the world, LeBron James, didn't even go to college.
While seeing scrappy kids fight it out is always entertaining, the storylines that come out of the NBA Finals are greater.
The best rivalry in college basketball is North Carolina vs. Duke, and yet they have never met in the championship game. They have never even played against each other once in the entire NCAA Tournament.
Even though the Los Angeles Lakers and Boston Celtics are from two different conferences, they have met 12 different times in the NBA Finals. These have been classic games that every NBA fan will always hold in their memories. College basketball has moments that people remember, while the NBA has rivalries that never die.
With 345 Division I schools, the basketball talent is pretty spread out in the NCAA. I know that bigger schools like Kentucky recruit the best of the best, but there are still so many teams that the talent distribution isn't as tight as in the NBA. Only the elite of the entire basketball population make the NBA, and only the elite of those can survive until the NBA Finals.
When you see LeBron James and Dirk Nowitzki playing in the NBA Finals, you can be assured that the best teams in the league were led there by the best players.
In my opinion, I would rather watch the elite. Not every college basketball player is lucky enough to also play in the NBA, but the ones that make it represent the highest level of basketball possible.