I need to preface this post with 2 qualifiers:
- Keep it in perspective; I’d much rather watch a flawed NCAA tourney than the WNBA or the NHL
- It’s Saturday, so don’t try to find any strategic connection to HR…this is about ball.
Even if you’re a passing fan of NCAA basketball, you’re watching more hours of live game coverage this weekend than you have all year. “March Madness” is/was on the level of the Superbowl in terms of popularity. It’s a uniquely American event, and the prospect of “Cinderella” overcoming all odds to win a championship is universally appealing. But it’s not without flaws:
- “Cinderella” never really wins ~ The last 10 NCAA champions; Kentucky, Connecticut, Duke, North Carolina, Kansas, Florida, Florida, North Carolina, Connecticut, Syracuse. Not exactly a group of no-names. There’s a ton of excitement in the opening rounds when one or two highly ranked teams get eliminated by an upstart, but in the end we still see the usual suspects claim the prize.
The quality of play has declined ~ College football has it figured out; keep your athletes committed for at least three years of eligibility. College basketball talent (like college baseball) is cherry-picked to the point of damaging the game. We used to know the players, not just the schools ~ love ’em or hate ’em, we got to know Steve Alford, Patrick Ewing, Grant Hill, and some guy named Jordan.
- Rules haven’t caught up ~ Try explaining the “one & one” foul situation; the 3-point line is a joke; the referees struggle to maintain some semblance of flow to a game that has been minimized to a dunk or chunk contest. No mid-range jump-shots equals an ugly game that turns into a (poorly conducted) free-throw contest.
So, cry me a river, right? As I’m typing this, I watched a pretty competitive game in Butler and Marquette. Still beats the heck out of Spring Training baseball.
John “Whit” Whitaker is Founder of the HR Hardball™ Straight talk, no-nonsense approach to workplace issues. Follow me on Twitter and LinkedIn for more samplings of the Hardball message.