Moving in the Wrong Direction

Have you ever been driving down the interstate and had a little pebble kick up and smack your windshield?  It leaves a crack that is so small you think it’s nothing to worry about, but sure enough over time that crack keeps getting bigger and bigger.  Eventually you have a crack all the way across your windshield, and your windshield is broken.

That tiny crack in the windshield was the day the NCAA decided to go from 64 to 65 teams in the beloved March Madness college basketball tournament.  That crack is slowly getting bigger and bigger, and eventually, just like the car windshield, the system will be broken.

I will watch as many seconds of the tournament as I can because I know there will be great drama, and great upsets, but it won’t be as good as it should be.  There are two major areas that need fixing, the selection process itself, and the tournament that keeps us glued to our TV sets for a month straight.

The selection process seems to have gotten so political that it almost makes no sense.  In a normal year it’s tough to pick which teams deserve an at large bid, in a bad year it’s even tougher, so I understand the job the committee does is not easy.  That being said (for you Nature Boy) there has to be a certain level of common sense involved.  Prior years have nothing to do with the selection process right?  So why is Michigan State in this thing?  Quality wins, and tough scheduling does matter right?  So why is Clemson in the field?  In fact why are there 5 teams with 15 losses in this tournament?  I could care less about Virginia Tech or Colorado basketball, but it appears in these cases common sense isn’t being used at all.  I don’t want to make it about this years field, but trust me, I can make the case in any number of ways for these two teams, and a few others, over about 5 teams in the big dance.

The bigger problem here is that we’ve added more mediocre or bad teams into a tournament that was as close to perfect as you can get.  Should Boston College or Alabama have gotten in over Georgia and VCU?  Probably, but you know what?  None of these teams should even be in the field to begin with.  When you are talking about a sport, a business, or even what type of sandwich you want for lunch, you don’t need added options that aren’t very good, you want a certain number of very good to great options.  Part of the issue here is the state of college basketball in general.  Players have been leaving after just one year of school for about a decade or so now, and the quality of play, and the  players themselves just aren’t as good as they were when we were growing up.  I love watching Jimmer Fredette play, but if Durant, Love, Westbrook, Griffin, and Wall were all still in school Fredette would be a mere blip on the radar.

The tournament kicks off tonight, a Tuesday night, with two play in games.  Explain to me how John Thompson and Bob Huggins have to prepare for two different opponents while the rest of the field has known exactly who they were playing since last Sunday evening.  It’s not like West Virginia and Georgetown were the last two teams in the tournament.  Ask a friend or colleague what channel TRU TV is, and see if they have any idea.  Watch the CBS show from the other night, and tell me that Charles Barkley and Kenny Smith sounded like they had seen any college basketball this season.  These aren’t major issues, but the pattern is developing.

There is a reason famous sayings last the test of time.  “If it ain’t broke, then don’t try to fix it”.  We didn’t need a 65th team, and we certainly don’t need 68, 94, or 120.  Things will continue to go in this direction because as we all know the NCAA is about one thing above all else, and that’s money.  I just hope that the tiny crack in the windshield doesn’t spread, and eventually break any time soon.

As far as this years tourney goes I have to add my two cents on some of the other issues I have with the selection committee.  Florida is a #2 seed.  That means the committee thought the Gators are one of the best eight teams in the country.  That’s ridiculous.  I also can’t get over Villanova being a #9 seed when it feels like they haven’t won a game in 2011.  Georgia a #10 seed?  How does the Big-10 always get so many teams in?  Too many questions and not enough answers on the selection process.

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~ by tuben4 on March 15, 2011.

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