“Can March Madness improve?” #274, March 29, 2010

    After Further Review ….As we prepare for the FINAL FOUR which concludes the NCAA 2009-2010 basketball season and March Madness (this is being written before the four teams were decided), it seems that it's getting more difficult  to accurately pick the best four.  Kansas, for example, a pre-season favorite and one who held the #1 ranking, (only lost 2 games out of 34) was defeated in the second round by (tournament ranked) #9 Northern Iowa and  #1 Syracuse lost in the “16.”


  Interesting to note that as we approached the "Sweet 16" weekend, 13 (of the 64) top seeds were defeated.  Several "buzzer -beater" shots won a game indicating those games could have gone either way.  Is it the NCAA selection committee who is at fault or do we just have so many good teams that trying to decide who is better has to do with a "buzzer-beater?"


  I have loved college basketball since I played it four years in college and officiated it for 26 years.  However, I'm beginning to lose interest in college basketball as I lost interest in the NBA a few years back.  Let me cite 4 reasons of my waning interest in the college game.


  Number 1:  One, as in "one and done." Current NBA rules state that you must be at least 19 years of age to enter the NBA draft.  That means that a high school graduate, usually graduating at 18 years of age, must wait a year – should he have NBA qualities – to go pro.  So, he goes to college for one year, then enters the NBA draft.  This is detrimental to long-term college basketball programs.


  Number 2:  The “transition game.”  Back in the 1950's we called it "the fast break" vs. just slowly bringing the ball down court.  Today’s transition game often just involves the fastest dribbler, one who races down court and either dunks the ball or drives for a “lay-up” hoping for a foul.


  Number 3:  Rule changes that have allowed both the palming (carrying it) of the ball and permitting the 2-step jump shot.  Space doesn't permit me a full explanation of these two travesties.


  Number 4:  Race-horse basketball has removed the T.E.A.M. concept.  Ball movement, to catch your opponent out of position, has pretty-much vanished.  Basketball was created as a T.E.A.M. game, however, in today’s game players just “fire-away” regardless of position or rebounding possibilities.


  Will you give me your constructive thoughts about today’s NCAA basketball?



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