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Old 03-20-2006, 05:42 PM  
redbrian redbrian is offline
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Anyone have a hanky for Whitless

Nothing sadder than a big fat man sitting in the corner blubbering.

Emphasis on NCAAs is madnessJASON WHITLOCK

Iím sorry. Itís Christmas time for college basketball fans, and Iím the only hoops fan screaming ďBah, humbug.Ē The whole overemphasis of the NCAA Tournament has me down. I just canít let it go.

Itís popular to say that college football can be immensely improved by jazzing up the end of the season with a tournament. Well, let me be the first to say that college basketball can be immensely improved by strengthening the ties between the regular season and the postseason.

You follow?

College basketball isnít perfect. In fact, as each year passes and Dick Vitale and Co. spends more and more time hyping March Madness rather than the regular season, college basketball moves closer to becoming the Jr. NBA circuit. Thereís no reason to pay attention until the playoffs.

I have a suggestion that would return some of the focus back to the regular season without remotely damaging the NCAA Tournament.

The NCAA selection committee should enact the following rules:

1. To be considered for a No. 1 seed, a team must win and/or tie for its regular-season conference championship;

2. To be considered for a No. 2 seed, a team must win and/or tie for its regular-season conference championship or win its conferenceís postseason tournament.

The top eight seeds in the tournament would be determined by teamsí performances in their conferences. This year that would have meant an undeserving Tennessee squad would not have been eligible to receive a No. 2 seed. In 2005, Wake Forest would have lost its No. 2 seed, and top seeds Duke and Washington would have dropped to the No. 2 line.

These changes are necessary because the de-emphasis of the conference season is only going to get worse if the NCAA doesnít make some move. Conference tournament winners Kansas, Iowa and Syracuse all lost first-round NCAA Tournament games. The popular belief is all three teams were hurt by making extended runs in their conference tournaments.

Next year it wouldnít surprise me if a smart coach ó Bill Self ó rested some of his regulars in the conference tournament. College players are not used to playing three games in three days or four games in four days (as Syracuse did). Itís difficult to recover from that and turn back around and play a talented Missouri Valley foe that has been resting for 12 days.

Bradleyís last game before the NCAAs was on March 5. Kansasí last game before meeting the Braves was on March 12. Leading up to the tournament, the Northwestern State team that knocked off Iowa played three games in six days. Iowa, of course, played three games in three days.

Look, thereís no use fighting the system. Itís too late to turn back. The NCAA Tournament is all that seems to matter to fans, coaches and players, so we might as well do something to connect the regular season more closely to the postseason. Letís give the conference championships some additional significance by making them a prerequisite for high tournament seedings.

Getting a top-two seed is all that matters in the NCAAs.

ďIf youíre not a one or two seed, the difference between the teams is minimal,Ē Self observed after his fourth-seeded Jayhawks lost to No. 13-seed Bradley.

Being one of the top eight seeds gives you a distinct advantage heading into the tournament. The 15 and 16 seeds are usually pretty substandard. All the other teams in the tournament are a threat.

My problem with college basketball now is that no one talks about the conference races anymore. Vitale, Jay Bilas, Digger Phelps, Billy Packer and all the other influential TV talkers analyze the tournament seedings beginning in December.

Itís unhealthy for college basketball. It makes the regular season irrelevant. It puts pressure on coaches to focus all of their attention on the end of the season. They get virtually no credit for doing a good job during the conference season. And they get way too much credit for getting lucky at the end of the year.

Bradleyís Jim Les looks like a great coach now, having won two games in the NCAA Tournament. Iím trying to figure out how he finished tied for fifth in the Missouri Valley with the team he has.
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Old 03-20-2006, 05:49 PM   #2
Ultra Peanut Ultra Peanut is offline
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Quote:
Being one of the top eight seeds gives you a distinct advantage heading into the tournament.
And how do you become a top eight seed? That's right, YOU DO VERY WELL IN THE REGULAR SEASON. If you shit up your regular season and get dumped with a #7 seed and a tough draw, that's usually your own damn fault.

Sure, sometimes teams are unfairly rewarded now and then (hello there, UTK), but that problem fixed itself, did it not?

And if no one cares about conference season anymore, then why is everyone bitching us out for something we can't control (being stuck in a league with three other solid teams and a bunch of underachieving turds)?
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Old 03-20-2006, 05:58 PM   #3
redbrian redbrian is offline
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Originally Posted by Ultra Peanut
And how do you become a top eight seed? That's right, YOU DO VERY WELL IN THE REGULAR SEASON. If you shit up your regular season and get dumped with a #7 seed and a tough draw, that's usually your own damn fault.

Sure, sometimes teams are unfairly rewarded now and then (hello there, UTK), but that problem fixed itself, did it not?

And if no one cares about conference season anymore, then why is everyone bitching us out for something we can't control (being stuck in a league with three other solid teams and a bunch of underachieving turds)?
There is a slight twist to whitlessís logic here is their not.

Bradly got to where it is because it played a lot tougher schedule (during the season) than most if not all of the big 12 teams.
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