The NCAA Men’s Tournament, widely regarded as one of the biggest basketball events in the world, has become unentertaining, repetitive and flat-out boring. The storylines are force-fed, the on-court product is atrocious and the intrigue is non-existent.
I love the game of basketball, I play it, I watch it, I study it, I absolutely love it. However, the last few years I’ve found myself watching the NCAA Men’s Tournament because I feel like I have to, not because I actually enjoy it. Here are 10 reasons why March Madness sucks.
Reason No. 1: The Poor On-Court Quality Of The Basketball
There’s nothing more boring than watching teams throw the ball side-to-side and weave for 20 seconds without trying to score. I don’t understand why there’s a 30-second shot clock in college and a 24-second shot clock in the NBA, it doesn’t make any sense. and it’s hard on the eyes.
Watch a college basketball game and then watch an NBA game, you can tell a difference. The NBA game is a superior basketball product.
The flow and quality of the college basketball game will bore you to tears. It could be because the majority of the offenses in college don’t try to score during the first 10 seconds of the 30-second shot clock they play with or because the talent level is inferior, but either way, most college games will put you to sleep on the couch real quick.
Reason No. 2: The Stale Neutral Site Environments
There’s nothing like watching a sporting event with a high-energy, intense atmosphere, but unfortunately, those atmospheres don’t exist during March Madness. When there’s a great stadium/arena atmosphere it bleeds through the TV screen and you can feel it in your living room. College basketball doesn’t have these atmospheres in March during the tournament.
A lot of the seats look empty, half the fans seem like they don’t know who they should cheer for and the fans that are actually cheering are canceled out by the disinterested, quiet fans waiting for their team to play.
According to ESPN’s Darren Rovell, it would cost an estimated $7,204 for a student to travel to all of their team’s tournament games during a March Madness Championship run. That’s a lot of money and the reality is that most fans don’t travel to tournament games.
There’s no realistic solution to this problem because logistically it wouldn’t make sense to have home games in the tournament so the stale crowds are here to stay.
Reason No. 3: The NFL
I will never forget where I was when I discovered the Texans traded Brock Osweiler to the Cleveland Browns and I was glued to the internet and television for hours afterward.
The NFL outshines every other sports league in the United States and it’s not even close. The buzz that the first week of NFL Free Agency generated on Twitter and on TV was more intense and entertaining than the opening week of the NCAA Men’s Tournament.
The NFL continues to push more and more sports in the back burner.
Just like baseball is America’s past time and football is America’s present time; NFL Free Agency is the new March Madness.
Reason No. 4: The Same Stale Storylines
As much as the media tries to romanticize March Madness storylines the stories really don’t change much from year-to-year.
There’s always the powerhouse program that goes down too early, the school that hasn’t had much success winning a game, blah blah blah.
This year it was Northwestern, who despite being a one-point favorite in their opening game against Vanderbilt acted like they pulled off the biggest upset in the history of sports when they beat Vandy, and just like every other year the cameras focused on one person in the stands during the game, Doug Collins was the lucky guy this year.
Reason No. 5: The Sport Doesn’t Have Enough Balls
The stale sport of college basketball could use more Balls.
LaVar Ball, the father of UCLA guard Lonzo Ball, has gotten a lot of national attention for some of the things he has said about himself and his son, but I find myself more interested in UCLA’s games than I would if he had never said anything.
Say what you want about Ball, but he’s entertaining and the most intriguing figure in this entire tournament despite not coaching or playing in it.
Reason No. 6: truTV
I’m sure the people at truTV work very hard and are nice people, but it’s hard for me to take any sporting event serious that broadcasts it’s biggest events on a channel nobody can find.
Reason No. 7: Office Pool Small Talk
So, how’s your bracket? That’s the question you hear most during the NCAA Tournament and it’s such a beating! Nobody ever wants to talk about the actual games and what happened during them, which is understandable because most of the games played in the tournament aren’t entertaining, but there’s no bigger beating than Tom the accountant going through his bracket with you in the break room.
Reason No. 8: There’s No Build Up Or Intrigue
One of the best things about a big event is the build-up and storylines heading into it.
Most people don’t watch college basketball during the regular season and have no clue who the players are on each team, which makes adding intrigue damn near impossible unless you want to hear the same old, played-out stories about one of the coaches of the big-time programs.
Reason No. 9: The Whole Format Is Flawed
With nearly 70 teams getting into the tournament and then being put on a relatively equal playing field on “neutral sites” the magnitude of the college basketball regular season is one of the lowest in sports. Combine that with the fact that the champion is decided in a single elimination tournament where flukiness can happen and you have one of the most jacked-up season formats in sports.
In the biggest game of this first week of the tournament Duke, the 2-seed in the East Region, was upset by South Carolina, the 7-seed. Where was this second round match-up played? In Greenville, South Carolina!
So let’s get this straight… The 2-seed, who many believed should have been a 1-seed, had to play pretty much a road game in the second round of the tournament against a 7-seed? I know Duke won’t get a lot of sympathy from many people, but that’s a jacked up system.
Reason No. 10: There’s Too Much Over-Coaching
Sometimes it feels like these college basketball coaches have unlimited timeouts and just want to be seen on TV.