Why college basketball
kicks the NBA’s ass
College football has finished creating controversy over
its ridiculous Bowl College System (BCS) for the year. And the
NFL has nothing left but the Super Bowl. That means from now until
April, Saturday and Sunday afternoons will be filled with college
Christmas came a few weeks late for me.
Nothing beats the thrill and excitement of NCAA basketball. A
Milwaukee Bucks-Phoenix Suns game will NEVER be as entertaining
as a Sunday afternoon NCAA doubleheader.
It doesn’t matter what teams you get to see. Whether it’s
Duke vs. North Carolina in a battle of top ranked teams or Murray
State vs. Valparaiso fighting for their lives to get to the tournament,
the excitement and emotion are unparalleled.
My love for college basketball started in the mid 1990s when I
first watched Duke point guard Steve Wojciechowski. ‘Wojo’ represented
everything that is college basketball.
He was a five-foot-nothing, Polish guard who didn’t score
much but was unmatched when it came to heart — something
that doesn’t happen in the NBA.
Wojo was an honourable mention All-American and the Defensive
Player of the Year in 1997, but went un-drafted in the NBA Draft,
probably because he couldn’t do a 360-windmill dunk from
the foul line.
That’s the problem with the NBA, it’s about entertainment
as much as it is about sport, not unlike professional wrestling.
Vince Carter is whiny and often injured and Kobe Bryant could go
to jail for rape, but the two of them are still among the top vote-getters
for the NBA All-Star Game.
College basketball is different. Players are not millionaires,
they are students who have to sit out if they are failing. Although
some are there to eventually get to the NBA, there are thousands
who are there for the love of the game and looking for no rewards.
In college, seniors cry when they lose their last game, knowing
their career is over. In the NBA, players whine until they get
traded to a contender (read: Karl Malone, Gary Payton).
The rivalries in college basketball are among the most intense
in all of sport. Duke/North Carolina, Kentucky/Louisville, Kansas/Missouri,
USC/UCLA; the list goes on and on.
What’s the best and most heated rivalry in the NBA? The
Naismith Cup, maybe? Oh no wait... the Grizzlies moved to Memphis.
Finally, the playoffs in college basketball are better than any
other sport on the planet. Hockey is my true love, and seeing the
Leafs win the Stanley Cup would mean more than anything to me.
But March Madness is unbelievable to watch. I get goose bumps
when I hear CBS’s Road to the Final Four jingle. The emotion,
the intensity, the upsets and the road to becoming NCAA champion
cannot be beat.