March Madness vs. The NBA Finals? Talk about a blowout

March 24 - MarchMadness Does March Madness just keep getting better every year, or what? And, does it become more universal every year, or what? When I attended college in the late Middle Ages, guys were into the NCAA basketball tournament. Period. Now, it seems women are even more engaged in ‘bracketology’ than the men. And, how cool is that? (unless you happen to be a certain Kansas alum/intern who told this blogger her Jayhawks would win the national championship. Ouch!).

I think March Madness has become an opiate for the masses because of the success of such mid-majors as Northern Iowa and St. Mary’s. In the old days, it seemed like UCLA, Kentucky, Indiana, North Carolina, Maryland, Duke and a few other schools had a lock on the brackets. Now, it’s a wide open, fast break that any school can win. Even the smartest Ivy Leaguer wouldn’t have predicted Cornell would be a Sweet 16 team.

I reiterate the obvious because I just saw a print ad entitled, ‘Coming soon. The most anticipated television event of the year. The culmination of a long, emotional journey. A win or go home contest. All played out in front of a record-breaking national audience. America, are you ready for….The NBA Play-offs on TNT.’ I’m not. I could care less.

Aside from fans in Boston, Cleveland, Los Angeles and a few other markets, I think most sports fans find the NBA irrelevant. In my mind, it’s become the professional wrestling of big time sports. It’s all flash and razzle dazzle, featuring individual showmen trying to outduel one another (Gilbert Arenas pun intended). There’s no sense of teamwork or camaraderie in the NBA. The season is endless. And, the champion isn’t even crowned until mid-June.

That’s what makes the advertisement so irksome. I understand why the NBA is trying to leverage the national mania stirred up by March Madness. And, that’s fine. But, to run full-page ads suggesting the NBA Playoffs is the most anticipated television event of the year is ludicrous, if not borderline fraudulent.

My March Madness bracket may be worth a plug nickel at this point, but that doesn’t mean I won’t be watching each and every remaining NCAA game. As for the NBA finals? I think I’d rather watch grass grow.

11 thoughts on “March Madness vs. The NBA Finals? Talk about a blowout

  1. Hey thanks, Ef. You make a valid point about the term mid-major. Question: Would Johns Hopkins be considered sub-major?

  2. On a semi-related note, am I the only one who hates how the term “mid-major” is overused. It used to refer to every conference outside “The Power 9,” and now refers to every conference outside “The Big 6.” If you’re going to refer to something as a MID-Major, then there has to be an echelon below it as well.

  3. All of those rivalries, well many, existed because many of the players on the teams faced each other in college before going to the pros. The ultimate example would be Magic vs. Bird. They faced off plenty of times in college and it enhanced their pro rivalry while each challenged the other for multiple championships.
    When kids bolt for the NBA after a year in college, or in Kobe or Lebron’s case, after high school, it takes too much time for real rivalries to be created. In fact, I would say that those two are is the only one present in the NBA…but the argument is “who is the best player”…not “which is the better team” (last time I checked Lebron hasn’t won anything).
    I can’t wait for the new CBA to be signed and all of these salaries are a third of what they are now. Maybe they won’t rush to leave college so soon.

  4. Always nice to hear from a Drew University grad who has made a success of himself, Milin. Thanks. No doubt that Lebron, et al, are among the greatest individual athletes in the world. But, the operative word is individual. What the NBA should do is forget about teams and simply have a series of one-on-one tournaments. That’s what it’s come down to.

  5. I’ve been a huge basketball fan ever since I could dribble a ball, and I have to agree that nothing compares to March Madness. As for the NBA, I have many bittersweet memories of my beloved New York Knicks, and the NBA hasn’t been what it use to be, but the NBA playoffs are still very exciting and worth watching.
    Watching the likes of Lebron and Kobe single handily beat some of the greatest basketball players in the world is impressive. Many of my greatest sports memories come from the NBA, watching the rivalries between the Knicks/Bulls, Knicks/Pacers, Knicks/Heat. Yes, those days have past, but the top basketball players in the NBA are some of the greatest athletes in the world, and I am hopeful the rivalries that once were will establish themselves once again..
    …and yes I am one of those fans that is hopeful Lebron comes to the Garden!!!

  6. You know your Floyd, Lunch. Couldn’t agree more re: not expanding the field of 64. To borrow a phrase from another legendary rock band, ‘Let it be.’

  7. Amen, brother. This has been a Tourney for the ages and the NBA hasn’t had a good product since Jordan retired for the first time.
    With that, Let’s GOOOOOO…. Mountaineers!!!! It would be great to see Huggy Bear vs. Calipari again. They used to compete/outwit each other while Huggins was at Cincy and Calipari was at Memphis – now it could be WVU vs. Kentucky…provided this round goes as I planned in my bracket.
    With a quick crossover, have you heard the chatter of making the Tourney go from 64 to 96 teams? Why fix $omething that isn’t broke? Here’s why: “Money it’s a hit. Don’t give me that do goody good bullshit.”

  8. Completely agree! That’s why my heart breaks every time another one-and-done athlete makes the jump to the NBA. I know I’ll rarely watch them play after that.