Disclaimer: This is done in fun. Rabid College B-Ball fans, please don’t hunt down and harm the writer. He loves basketball, just good basketball that’s all.
Almost two full days into March Madness and I’ve yet to watch a single minute of the NCAA Tournament. Ok, I did watch a few minutes of the NIT and I saw literally a minute’s worth of the NCAA although I couldn’t tell you what teams played or who won.
And by watch the tournament, I mean live on CBS. I’ve seen some highlights on SportCenter of course, they’re inescapable, but I don’t pay attention to winners and losers.
Why? Well, for that answer you can check out this piece I did a year ago, explaining why the NBA is way better than the NCAA.
The NBA consumes my love of basketball, and I’ve found being a featured columnist of a team, the Denver Nuggets, that it’s difficult to stay on top of all the details that go on with one team, let alone an entire league.
But to follow college basketball as well is too much.
Plus, my Colorado State Rams aren’t a player in the tournament, and I don’t like to just pick Duke, UNC or another college b-ball superpower to root on forward—like so many of the diehard NCAA fans out there.
I didn’t even bother filling out a bracket, like many years before, so not even the scores on the bottom ticker entice my interest.
But why write the piece?
For the first time ever, I feel like a total outsider when it comes to a big time sporting event.
I now understand what it means to be a non sports addict, someone that wonders what all the fuss is about.
In the US, we celebrate big-time sports events almost as holidays, and it seems that a great majority of us join in. The NFL’s Super Bowl is a holiday, between the all-day pregame coverage and the four hour, drawn out championship game, and horrible commercials, there’s plenty for everyone to enjoy. We even throw and attend parties, all over a mere game.
The World Series, March Madness and the Olympics all qualify as well, and for those that think sports are trivial, they have to feel like outsiders.
Or, they think the rest of us sports maniacs are dimwitted brutes, alpha-males that fight at any chance.
And as a person whose life revolves around sports, it’s an awkward feeling indeed.
But what intrigues me is the "what."
What exactly draws people to this sport?
College basketball is so slow, with its 35-second shot clock, which affects the boring and low final scores as well. Once down, it’s too hard for a team to come back because the one in the lead can run clock so easily.
Now I see why they call it March Madness, it's because the low scores/blowouts are maddening!
The zone defense, which has recently infected the NBA, is ridiculously silly and almost never effective.
I saw a highlight of a player on offense with the ball at 40 feet from the hoop, he stood there for five seconds, then ran between three different players in the zone and dished for an easy bucket.
Also, teams don’t take enough risks on offense, always making the safe multiple passes which lead to less exciting plays overall.
And the talent level of college athletes aren’t anywhere close to those in the NBA, meaning the overall product just isn’t as good.
Really, I don’t see what attracts them all.
Well, I know people love upsets, unless of course it’s their team that is being upset.
Put it this way, I’d rather watch some PGA Golf, with Tiger of course, over college b-ball any day.
Although, a few minor changes would make the game much better, and more watchable overall.
Firstly, change the shot clock to 24 seconds. Second, put 48 minutes on the game clock instead of 40. These two small tweaks would increase scores and create parody.
But now, after realizing I've missed much already, I see ignoring the tournament as a goal, and with its ever invasive coverage, it has already proven to be a challenge. I was subjected to a few minutes of live coverage while writing this piece, so I’ve already spoiled the headline a bit.
Still, to watch a mere few minutes of a tournament with dozens of hours of coverage is definitely a feat. Especially when considering how extensive the manpower and hours logged devoted to college basketball by CBS, ESPN, and how it's spread like a virus all over my twitter feed.
And even though I’m attempting not to, I have a feeling I will be drawn in and eventually will watch the championship game.
The following is an up-to-date list of how much of the tournament I’ve watched as I try to ignore it all together.
9:00 p.m. MT
Saw 30 seconds worth when my roommate wanted to check some scores. Luckily he understood I was writing the piece and changed it over to SportCenter which I zoned out while continuing to write.
9:15-9:20 p.m. MT
Syracuse is blowing out Vermont by 16 points with 13 minutes left in the game. Who thinks this sport is entertaining again?
10:30-10:50 p.m. MT
Watched some of Maryland beating up on Houston. How is this a fair contest? Maryland up 14 with three minutes to play. CBS should at least put a closer game on, or figure out how to play four games at once on the TV...
Like I stated in the piece, it's too hard for the team to comeback when they're down because of the 35-second shot clock. Maryland wins by 12.
Then something classic for college basketball happened. At some point today during a free throw, a player stepped on the box and when the opponent missed the shot, they got the ball back again, made the free throw, and won the game by one!
The players in college are just poor, and frustrating to watch.
What a way to end your season!
Rich Kurtzman is a Colorado State University Alumnus and a freelance journalist. He is the Denver Nuggets Featured Columnist here on bleacherreport.com, as well as the Denver Broncos FC on NFLTouchdown.com. Kurtzman also writes as the CSU Examiner on examiner.com.
Send Rich an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.