Signs it's the off season: Basketball

It's March Madness time - I've filled out 3 brackets so far - some wacky/biased picks - we'll see how it goes.

The other night I was casually watching a "bracketology" show on TV - The experts - okay, Bobby Knight - were going on about the inequity of having a field of only 64 teams in the tournament - and that quality teams are left out due to the automatic bids for conference champions. Knight's "obvious" solution was to add another game (and thereby another 64 teams!) to weed out lower seeds and make sure that all the teams that "deserve" to be there, are.

While some teams that could slip into a lower (ranked) seed get bumped each year - that's just part of the game. I sincerely doubt that any of the burst bubble teams are ones that could have made a run for the title - and it's really the lesser known schools that add the charm to the tournament - to systematically "dispose" of these players would really change the feel of the tourny. The whole idea of adding another game is driven by the idea that the small conferences don't deserve to be in the field - and sure, most do not do well - but some do exceedingly well - and the national exposure - even if only for 2 hours against Duke, it is great for the teams.

But, within all of this debate - the subject of the kids playing too much - or missing too much school - or the integrity of the venues - never comes into question (although, if it ever became a serious debate, I'm sure that the NIT would have some comments). Teams travel all over the US to play college basketball - during both the regular season and into the tournament - during the tournament they travel to "neutral" (okay, maybe not if you're a North Carolina school) sites to play in the different rounds.

Also, I never hear anyone say - oh the college basketball season is meaningless - because of the tournament - certainly you wouldn't suggest that the conference tournaments are insignificant - look at Georgia.

and, as a college football fan, I'm sure it's clear what I'm leading up to, it's inevitable that one's thoughts turn to thoughts of a Football Playoff. Why is it that every other sport gets to crown it's champion on the court/field/mat? Certainly there are subjective elements and unhappy non-parcipants - but at least it's the kids' play and coaches' determination that actually win the title.

Of course, I mean a "Bowl Championship Division" Football Playoff - because every other football division has a playoff.

College Basketball is an exciting sport - with great conferences, out of conference match-ups and tournaments. And the NCAA tournament just adds to the fun. I contend that, rather than discourage fans from watching regular season games, the tournament draws in viewers who would never really bother otherwise. It's a great showcase that exposes the nation to different schools and individual stories. Fans love the great plays, unique mascots, upsets and buzzer beaters - one game after another. Seriously, how would i have otherwise ever become a fan of the Western Kentucky Hill Toppers if I hadn't seen their little (big) red blob of a mascot running around the court?

It's a great time of year -

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