Every year the NCAA tournament comes around, it seems as if we have the same argument over whether or not NCAA basketball is better than the NBA. This year, as with any other year, NBA bloggers get defensive for a few weeks.
This seems to be a pretty simple argument, but we hash it out year in and year out.
Is the NCAA a better product than the NBA? No, absolutely not.
However, they have a more exciting tournament that draws people in during a dead spot in the sports calendar. Therefore, it becomes one of the most exciting events of the year.
Now, a single-elimination, 64-team tournament is no way to pick the clear-cut best team of the year, but it's fun, entertaining and will most likely yield one of a dozen very good, top-tier teams as the ultimate winner.
However, every year we get complaints like this one from those who put the NBA game above the NCAA, leading to a ton of defensive, sharp comments from each side of the aisle.
Why is basketball the only major sport in the U.S. where the amateur version is more popular than the professional version?— Nate Jones (@JonesOnTheNBA) March 24, 2013
Is this actually true? Well for three weeks out of the year I would say yes, otherwise the NBA is obviously the more popular product.
NBA writers definitely know their stuff, they're generally good at evaluating the translation of talent to the next level, but there's a certain level of snark that peeks through during March Madness.
@jonesonthenba And calling the product we've seen the last few days "amateur" is being generous. Inferior product to NBA in almost every way— Patrick Hayes (@patrick_hayes) March 24, 2013
I want Blake Griffin to come out through the crowd and dunk on Jeff Whithey now. Just to prepare him.— Hardwood Paroxysm (@HPbasketball) March 24, 2013
Whithey, going to get dunked on. So much. Soooo much.— Hardwood Paroxysm (@HPbasketball) March 24, 2013
@jordanswhite defending in college is like being great at holding a winning lottery ticket. No one can shoot.
— Hardwood Paroxysm (@HPbasketball) March 24, 2013
Despite the exciting finishes and upsets so far in tourney, in general, actual basketball as bad as ever..college hoops in freefall.— Bill Plaschke (@BillPlaschke) March 23, 2013
Wish I had a dollar for every time I thought the shot clock was winding down in a college game, only to see there was still 15 seconds left.— John Schuhmann (@johnschuhmann) March 24, 2013
By and large, any NBA coaching experience > experience as a college head coach.— Brett Koremenos (@BKoremenos) March 25, 2013
No idea who any of these college kids are. Don't know if this makes watching more fun or less. I'm thinking the former.— Darius Soriano (@forumbluegold) March 25, 2013
Do all college teams miss so many layups or only the best 32?— Jared Wade (@Jared_Wade) March 24, 2013
As we start to get away from the rash of games starting every half hour, ending in waves and giving us a constant wave of excitement, the mentality starts to wane and everybody starts to think more clearly.
The problem is that there's such an exciting rush in the first four days of the tournament that NBA writers tend to let the hoopla amount to much more than it really is, which is a bunch of exciting basketball games happening all at once.
Of course, we tend to look at each side from a skewed perspective, especially since most people have their side picked out, but are capable of realizing the pros and cons for either league.
I'm feeling much nicer this year. I have no problem with whichever level of basketball you prefer as long as you can respect the NBA.— Hardwood Paroxysm (@HPbasketball) March 24, 2013
Hate the "college > NBA because they don't play for money" argument. You like handheld, amateur movies better than Tarantino flicks too?— Royce Young (@dailythunder) March 24, 2013
I used to be a College Basketball Is Better apologist. Not anymore. I have seen the light. The NBA is way, way, way better.— Royce Young (@dailythunder) March 24, 2013
And don't get me wrong, I enjoy college basketball still. Love the tournament to death. I just prefer the NBA game, by quite a lot.— Royce Young (@dailythunder) March 24, 2013
In the end it seems important that we all realize something: we all enjoy watching basketball, so do just that.
Everyone has their preference, regardless of whether one side is more exciting for a few weeks out of the year or if another side is a more high-end product, we can enjoy each side for different reasons.