cfb feature
The NCAA Tournament
Office pools
Student sections
One Shining Moment
The Nae Nae
Bill Raftery

These are just some of the things that make college basketball fun and great theatre once we are into March. But there is one thing that’s not part of this list:

Actual basketball

For all the madness, all the media, all the water cooler discussions, and all of the “I’m not a billionaire” tweets, I still can’t shake the fact that the college basketball product just isn’t very good. In fact, it’s flat out bad. Offense, defense, free throws (!!!) – just all noticeably inferior to the NBA product – and I am not even an everyday NBA fan.

I’m just a sports fan and at the end of the day if I am going to commit time to watching sports on TV, then it better be good, elite level competition. Then I watch college basketball – a sport with seemingly no flow and the complete inability to hit jump shots except for that 3-point specialist guy. True centers don’t really exist. Most games are determined by exploiting obvious match-ups. “Oh you don’t have a big man – good thing we have Patric Young here to ruin your day.”

And while you can argue buzzer beaters make it all worth it, holy (bleep!) is the last minute of a college basketball game excruciating. Even in a game with an unbelievable winning shot, the product just draws out to the point it loses its appeal. Hats off to the folks at Deadspin who put together this chart to display just how much of a flow-killer the climax of a college basketball game is.

So while we all continue to enjoy the NCAA Tournament, it is perfectly OK to recognize what makes the tournament great while admitting to ourselves that the actual sport taking place just isn’t really one of them. Admit it – we love brackets, not college basketball.