Volume 93, Issue 91

Wednesday, March 22, 2000


Experts predict the champs

The NBA lacks madness

Taekwondo kicks it at RMC

The NBA lacks madness

Madness. Pure, unadulterated, wonderful madness.

As we enter the round known as the "sweet sixteen" in the National Collegiate Athletics Association's basketball finals, the world of professional sports and more specifically the National Basketball Association, is once again reminded of how a championship should be run.

Sixty-four teams, three weeks, one tournament – you win you go on, you lose you go home. No Associated Press or coaching polls deciding who is best, no money gouging best of seven series and most importantly, no post-season play lasting longer than the regular season play.

My only question is – when they sat down and drew out the schematics for this annual round ball event, did they truly know the magic they were creating for all of us?

This tournament, however, is just an extension of the college basketball circuit as a whole and remains severely underrated compared to it's over-inflated NBA cousin. With the only exception to the rule being the Toronto Raptors, the college game offers a much more exciting and electrifying style of play than its professional counterpart.

While the NBA is sauntering the ball up to half court, the college game is pressing the ball and running fast-break after fast-break. While the NBA is posting up and backing in, the college game is tossing alley-oop after alley-oop. While the NBA is whining about contracts and playing for Nike endorsements, college is playing for free and fighting for national pride.

The full court presses, the ever-changing defensive sets, the bands, the cheerleaders, the foul shot "whooshes" – it's all there. Even the fans at the college level are better then your passive NBA fan (minus the people who can only afford nosebleeds and are never on camera.)

When college players finally make it to the big dance known as the NBA, they are by far the most fun to watch. Injecting the energy and "above the rim" style of play from the college level into the laissez-faire style of play at the professional level.

These young players explode onto the scene with their college mentality of constantly trying to prove themselves, but three to four years into their NBA career they all of a sudden slow down. It's almost like the veterans pull them aside and say "Hey, take it ease out there, you're making us look bad. Who are you trying to impress anyway?"

Proof positive is in the likes of Larry Johnson, Joe Smith, Cedric Ceballos, Ed O'Bannon and Jerry Stackhouse who ran wild into the league out of prolific college careers only to fade quietly into the hard court background of set shots, man defence, one-on-one match-ups and time-out after time-out.

Oh well, at least we have three weeks in which we see basketball the way it was and is still meant to be played – with pure, unadulterated, wonderful madness.

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