Hey everyone! The college basketball started yesterday! Gee, I don't seem to hear a lot of enthusiasm out there. I think I just heard a pin drop. Does anybody care? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller? I don't even know who plays for whom and if I do hear a name on ESPN or sports radio, it's someone I've never heard of.
Seems the problem is the "one and out" rule the geniuses at the NCAA put in place a few years ago. To try to stem the tide of high school players jumping to the NBA, they passed a rule which makes all players play at least one year of college basketball. One whole year! Wow! Thanks, fellas!
By all accounts Kentucky should have been the odds on favorite in the polls this year but unfortunately most of the freshmen on last year's team couldn't wait to leave Kentucky (Who can blame them) and sit on the benches in the NBA. John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins, Eric Bledsoe and Patrick Patterson (Freshmen all) put in their one year and took a powder from Lexington. So now Kentucky has to start from scratch with a bunch of untested freshmen and sophomores, juniors and seniors who obviously aren't good enough to play at the next level. Same problem for every other college team. In all, ten freshmen were drafted last year and countless others applied for the draft, forfeiting their college eligibility.
Other than the few weeks in March when we care more about our betting pools than actual teams, who is going to give a hoot about the college basketball regular season? I guess the students at the schools will fill most of the arenas because the dorms are right nearby. But how can you root for a team knowing that anyone who shows the slightest bit of talent will be gone at the end of the season?
And if that wasn't bad enough, some players have found a way to skip the one year of college altogether. Brandon Jennings of the Milwaukee Bucks found the thought of college life so distasteful that he spent his one year abroad in Italy playing in a professional league. After the year was up, he was old enough to be drafted into the pros.
So college basketball is now just a sport of recruiting. It's like drafting a fantasy football team and the real players are the coaches. If they catch lightning in a bottle their team might go far during March Madness. But don't expect to do it again the following year because all of your prized recruits will bolt faster than a speeding Internet.
Maybe they should just forget about a regular season, allow every school into the tournament and declare the national champion to the survivor. Sounds more interesting than a January game between Butler and Drexel. Who's really going to miss the regular season other than a Las Vegas line makers and Dick Vitale?
The big winners in all this are the old college basketball stars whose records will never be broken. The losers of course are the fans but they've never really been that high on the NCAA's pecking order.
Goodbye college basketball! It was fun while it lasted but unfortunately, the shot clock on the sport just ran out.
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