Wednesday, April 4, 2012

How Kentucky Killed College Basketball

It started slow but then all of a sudden - college basketball is dead.
Yes in the South and the Southeastern Conference Kentucky is basketball.
Now Kentucky not only is the NCAA champion - they own college basketball.
UCLA, North Carolina and Duke have all had a shot at being the team dynasty.
I am sure Indiana and Kansas and some Michigan State have made this claim sometimes the last twenty years.

Why is college basketball dead?
At the top end of teams the regular season does not matter.
Sure Carolina versus Duke is hyped by ESPN. They both still will get a high tournament seed regardless of the outcome.
This year can you tell me three regular season games you were into, knew the players and it affected the overall season?
I have attended many a Georgia Bulldog home game since the 1960's. They usually are looking up from the back end of the league.
I went to Ole Miss and attended the Reb games. They traditionally rival Georgia in weak basketball. When I was at Ole Miss coach Bob Weltlich and point guard Sean Tuohy made the NCAA tournament and had to win an SEC tournament championship to do it. In fact the Rebs had to win then to even get an invite to the big tournament.
That was before the field of 64 plus.
Regular season records affected which seed the conference team would have for it's tournament.
I went to the Georgia Kentucky game this January.
I was thrilled to get a ticket due to past big crowds when UK came to town.
My being thrilled to get a ticket was nostalgic thinking. Many tickets were available.
You could have bought tickets for your pick up league team.
Why? Folks now know the regular season does not matter.

Conference does not matter.
The blue bloods have their few big games hyped. Why? The past history that is no longer a reality.
The ACC tournament used to send only the tournament champ to the NCAA tournament.
In 1974 N.C. State defeated Maryland, with their six future NBA players, 103-100 in overtime. What a game. It helped further the ACC tournament mystique.
Why was it great? If you are in the top 10, and loaded with All-Americans, and you lose your conference tournament, you do not get rewarded. Skin was left on the court in that era. Players were crushed when they failed. Winning players celebrated a tournament championship as a career hallmark. Now the loser shrugs their shoulders and looks to see if they will be a number one or two seed in the NCAA tournament.
Kentucky lost in the SEC tournament to Vanderbilt and they were not fazed. Why? Nothing lost. They rightly knew they would be a number one seed win or lose. Thanks NCAA tournament for killing the Cat's, and fan's motivation for really caring about conference championships.

Players help kill college basketball. I can not blame a teenager for choosing to be a millionaire over college and heading to the NBA. These few players ready for the pro basketball are a slim minority of high schoolers. (Or are they really AAU players that play a little high school ball now days?) The millionaires can afford community college tuition later in life. Good for them.
How the players kill basketball is they go to school influenced by Rivals rankings, Nike basketball camps and the unregulated AAU "coaches".
Not one Kentucky player in the championship was from Kentucky. It was the same way with Kansas.
High dollar Kentucky coach _ _ _ _ (fill in the blank this guy will be gone soon enough and another gunslinger will take his place) picks the one and done NBA prep squad, wins and reloads as the one year "scholar athletes" head out.
Only about four teams can really win the tournament each year. Their are 64 teams in the NCAA tournament now, plus the teams in play in games, and some coaches want more teams in.
People are catching on.
College basketball is a poorer product than it was twenty and thirty years ago.

Fans beware the NCAA. College football is rolling. Watch out football, meddlers are lurking. All of sports seems to want to copy the NBA model that lessens the product by how they play the regular season, and choose a champion. Football can be altered. Yet do not kill the regular season and gimmick up the championship.
College basketball might end up deader than Kentucky football if this trend continues.

1 comment:

  1. Lot of good points. The term "student-athlete" has become worse than a joke in some cases. It's all about the money, so don't expect that to change anytime soon. If the WNBA were a tad more successful, you'd see the women more willing to jump ship, too. Of course if the pro leagues didn't allow it, someoby would soon sue to make it so.