NCAA Tournament Final Four Shooting: Is Change in Order?
After painfully watching this year's tournament title game, I was thinking what most people thought: Awful shooting leads to a less exciting game to watch. I saw myself forget what happened for a seven to eight minute stretch, and the score hardly changed. I came to expect Butler to miss most shots they put up, and in turn, UConn caught a little of that same bug.
A lot of it I have to credit the defense for both squads, because I knew it would be a challenge to break 60, but I was surprised at UConn's defense against Butler's offense. I expected Brad Stevens and their experienced team from last year to run a sound offense and put up points—if the ball went in the net. From this expectation, I hoped UConn's offensive firepower would make up for defensive inefficiencies.
With the defense the cause for some of the offensive struggles, I can't help but think the long week off has something to do with it also.
The first and second round games start Thursday/Saturday (or Friday/Sunday), and the Sweet 16 and Elite Eight start Thursday/Saturday (or Friday/Sunday). This means teams get one day of rest in each weekend of games and only four days of rest between the weekends.
There are already a lot of underdog teams to lose to high rank teams in the second weekend because they just cannot keep up the intensity of the first two games after four days off. With that said, why give the final four teams an extra six days?
Granted, we don't see this low scoring every year, but it is a good opportunity to propose this change. I think it is easier to carry over any momentum teams have in getting there, and the shooting will be much improved. Players have less time to think about everything surrounding them, and they have to get acquainted with the court faster.
Another reason why I bring this up is because a Big East team that goes through the gauntlet of the conference tournament has the same layoff as between each weekend of games.
With that in mind, teams are expected to play their best six days after playing in the Elite Eight? When I see Big East teams continue to lose early (with the exception of UConn this year), it makes me think that it would be more exciting if the the Final Four was earlier.
If the Final Four started just two days earlier, the teams would play a little better, and even though we may not see their best (as basketball is streaky as a whole), there's a better chance of seeing teams perform better from raw talent than tactful game plans.
Also, this may be just this year, but by the time the Final Four came around, I almost forgot they still had to play the games. I had already turned more to baseball because the hype just isn't what the Final Four used to be. Even the semifinal games, which were great to watch, didn't have that feeling to them.
I know the tournament does this Saturday/Monday because of TV ratings and travel purposes, but this is an insight to make the game better to watch for most other Americans watching the game at home, a bar or viewing party.
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