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  1. #1

    Covid exposes the flaws of college basketball

    Covid has afforded most of us more time to experiment with various TV options. What I came to realize is how much inferior the college game is to the pro game. Every night, there are multiple NBA stars on TV along with the rest of the talent on the floor. The brand of basketball compared to the college game is not even close. I found the NCAA tournament ( outside the two final Gonzaga games) borderline unwatchable with many games in the 50s and low 60s. I am afraid this will be the case well into the future. For me, Covid has exposed that the college game is more about arenas, fans and ESPN hype while the product itself is simply not very good.

  2. #2
    Quote Originally Posted by Duke12 View Post
    Covid has afforded most of us more time to experiment with various TV options. What I came to realize is how much inferior the college game is to the pro game. Every night, there are multiple NBA stars on TV along with the rest of the talent on the floor. The brand of basketball compared to the college game is not even close. I found the NCAA tournament ( outside the two final Gonzaga games) borderline unwatchable with many games in the 50s and low 60s. I am afraid this will be the case well into the future. For me, Covid has exposed that the college game is more about arenas, fans and ESPN hype while the product itself is simply not very good.
    https://twitter.com/ichotiner/status...752192?lang=en

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by Duke12 View Post
    Covid has afforded most of us more time to experiment with various TV options. What I came to realize is how much inferior the college game is to the pro game. Every night, there are multiple NBA stars on TV along with the rest of the talent on the floor. The brand of basketball compared to the college game is not even close. I found the NCAA tournament ( outside the two final Gonzaga games) borderline unwatchable with many games in the 50s and low 60s. I am afraid this will be the case well into the future. For me, Covid has exposed that the college game is more about arenas, fans and ESPN hype while the product itself is simply not very good.
    Well the NBA is slowly killing the college game- perhaps to its own detriment. College is about rivalries and is at its best when fans can follow players and teams over multiple seasons. The stars leave early and now the bench is seeking more playing time. In the end, we will see if college ball attracts eyeballs. As for the pro game- I find it only compelling during the playoffs - when the games seem to matter to players.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Durham, NC
    I love college basketball. I cannot watch NBA.

    College ball has heart. Pro ball has overpaid egos trying to outdo each other.

    College ball has started to become like pro (ego-wise). I would love to see it back to it's older form - ie, 1970s, early 80s, before it became a short stop on the way to the NBA.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    New York, NY
    Quote Originally Posted by Duke12 View Post
    Covid has afforded most of us more time to experiment with various TV options. What I came to realize is how much inferior the college game is to the pro game. Every night, there are multiple NBA stars on TV along with the rest of the talent on the floor. The brand of basketball compared to the college game is not even close. I found the NCAA tournament ( outside the two final Gonzaga games) borderline unwatchable with many games in the 50s and low 60s. I am afraid this will be the case well into the future. For me, Covid has exposed that the college game is more about arenas, fans and ESPN hype while the product itself is simply not very good.
    The NBA has always had the best athletes, though I can’t personally vouch for the talent level prior to the 1954-55 season, which is when Milan retired, the 24 second shot clock was instituted, and Black players first competed in the championship series (Syracuse Nationals over the Ft. Wayne Pistons in 7 games).

    Despite the talent gap, I’ve always much preferred the college game, partly because I only have so much fan bandwidth. It always seemed preferable to watch players develop, to know that every game counted, and to share a group focus on a JJ jumper or a Hurley no-look pass that could be pinpoint or might get caught by a guy in the 3rd row.

    Interesting how the pendulum swings. If I want to watch a Duke guy whose name and game are instantly recognizable to me at the beginning of a season, I can turn on the Pelicans, Celtics, Nets, Knicks, etc. If I ever again get to leave my apartment, I could drop by Japan and watch the Hitachi Sun Rockers (Ryan Kelly, 21 ppg), or to Spain (CB Granada, Alex Murphy 12 ppg), or to Montenegro (Justin Robinson, 11 ppg), Turkey (Galatasaray, Amile Jefferson, 11 ppg), or France (DeMarcus Nelson, 11 ppg—still playing!). Vrank (Croatia), Jack White (Australia), and even Derrick Thornton (Serbia) are also averaging at least 5 ppg overseas.

    Partly for reasons out of any person’s individual control, but largely related to the overall NBA, NCAA, TV effort to maximize profit, college basketball has gradually evolved to reduce individual player recognizability, diminish the importance of regular season games (it’s all about March Madness, baby), and devote intense focus on branding (the best hs and college players are similarly focused on branding and social media). No turning back, I suppose, but it is interesting to know that if I want to watch a Zion, for example, in 2024, I know to turn on a Pelicans game. There’s no way to know, right now, who—if any—of the current Duke players will be wearing a Duke uniform in 2022, much less 2024. If I’m running NCAA basketball (and maybe someone should), I’d be worried.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Mount Kisco, NY
    There will always be people who are only attracted to any sport played at its highest level. That's not what really hooks me about sports. I like to see which team and players have heart, which seem to will their teams to the win, which coaches get their players to play hard and can come up with an interesting scheme or play to help their team, which side shrinks from the moment and which step up and embrace it. For that reason, I can watch any game, basically any sport, played at any level, and find myself hooked. When I was coaching 9 year olds, all of the things I mentioned above were present - minus, perhaps, the coaching side. But there are always players and teams who compel my attention, and I understand that I may be in the minority.

  7. #7
    Those shortcomings IMO were on display pre-covid as well. What covid did, at least temporarily, was remove the area in which college basketball was still light years ahead of the NBA - the atmosphere. When you take that part away and the presentation has to rely on the quality of play, it highlights how much the game has lost.

    Some of that is due to early entry of course, but it’s much more than that. The officiating is awful and the rules reward overly physical or slow play. The TV presentation is terrible, full of Joe Lunardi’s fantasy bracket or lame “personalities” doing shtick instead of commentary.

    The NBA went through a similar stretch in the 90s where everything was iso ball and tugging and grabbing, and that was dull too. Hopefully college ball will follow the NBA’s lead and emphasize freedom of movement in the years to come.

  8. #8
    To me, getting offers as recruits from places like Duke means different things to recruits now than it did in prior eras. Getting an offer from Duke previously meant you got a chance to play under Coach K for 4 years, an opportunity to earn a degree, and be on your way. It meant you got to be on the campus and in Durham for four years and be a normal college student when you weren’t fulfilling your college basketball athletic responsibilities. It was the dream school and basketball program for many kids, not just the dream basketball program. Being a Duke basketball recruit now (like most other elite programs) doesn’t carry that same mindset. It’s a transactional relationship for both entities (the coaching staff and the recruits) in more and more cases. That is a main reason why although I still invest probably way too much of my time and emotion into the program, it still isn’t the same to me anymore.

  9. #9
    What COVID did to college basketball and the NCAA in general over the past year, is lay bare the obvious money grab that IS revenue college athletics. The NCAA and member institutions are clearly most interested in where to find and squeeze profits, student health and safety be damned.

    We've know this for ages, but the last thirteen months have laid bare the hypocrisy of the "nonprofit" NCAA and the unpaid student athlete workforce.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by johnb View Post
    The NBA has always had the best athletes, though I can’t personally vouch for the talent level prior to the 1954-55 season, which is when Milan retired, the 24 second shot clock was instituted, and Black players first competed in the championship series (Syracuse Nationals over the Ft. Wayne Pistons in 7 games).

    Despite the talent gap, I’ve always much preferred the college game, partly because I only have so much fan bandwidth. It always seemed preferable to watch players develop, to know that every game counted, and to share a group focus on a JJ jumper or a Hurley no-look pass that could be pinpoint or might get caught by a guy in the 3rd row.

    Interesting how the pendulum swings. If I want to watch a Duke guy whose name and game are instantly recognizable to me at the beginning of a season, I can turn on the Pelicans, Celtics, Nets, Knicks, etc. If I ever again get to leave my apartment, I could drop by Japan and watch the Hitachi Sun Rockers (Ryan Kelly, 21 ppg), or to Spain (CB Granada, Alex Murphy 12 ppg), or to Montenegro (Justin Robinson, 11 ppg), Turkey (Galatasaray, Amile Jefferson, 11 ppg), or France (DeMarcus Nelson, 11 ppg—still playing!). Vrank (Croatia), Jack White (Australia), and even Derrick Thornton (Serbia) are also averaging at least 5 ppg overseas.

    Partly for reasons out of any person’s individual control, but largely related to the overall NBA, NCAA, TV effort to maximize profit, college basketball has gradually evolved to reduce individual player recognizability, diminish the importance of regular season games (it’s all about March Madness, baby), and devote intense focus on branding (the best hs and college players are similarly focused on branding and social media). No turning back, I suppose, but it is interesting to know that if I want to watch a Zion, for example, in 2024, I know to turn on a Pelicans game. There’s no way to know, right now, who—if any—of the current Duke players will be wearing a Duke uniform in 2022, much less 2024. If I’m running NCAA basketball (and maybe someone should), I’d be worried.
    I appreciate your recital of players overseas. It makes a point worth exploring. After these guys are done playing, what Duke players will you even know of to follow? I can't name the team from two years ago, nor last years team. They have no persona for me to know or follow - wherever they might land. These sojourners become mere wandering souls with no place in the Duke Pantheon.

  11. #11
    This thread is mistitled. Any game has flaws, but to say they are exposed by a pandemic just does not scan. The actual post of the OP makes the proof that the level of talent in college basketball is very low in comparison to the NBA, which is a "well, duh" kind of statement ... but it does not at all explain why that is considered a "flaw". Until recently, I considered college basketball much more entertaining than the NBA, in the same manner as I found the Class A Durham Bulls baseball team of the 80s much more entertaining than major league baseball.

  12. #12
    I really enjoy the pro game, but the emotions are different. College ball players still play with real fear and worry. I love that emotion and prefer the college game for that reason.

  13. #13

    Root root root for the home team

    I certainly follow the NBA, but generally only watch the 4Q. College basketball is more fun for me, but the game of course has been brought down by musical chairs rosters.

    It is strange to see Dukies in the NBA because my first thought is, Oh yeah I remember him. And then I realize that he was at Duke only two or three years before.

    I hope that the new transfer rule will allow Duke to "draft" guys like Seth Curry, who played a year of college ball and showed that he was much better than anyone thought while in HS. (Except Del Currry, of course, and I imagine Sonia.) At the same time, he wasn't a sure-fire NBA player, so he stayed for three years. There is also a root for the underdog quality about guys like that since they seem to appreciate the fact that a big-time team (whether Duke or someone else) has give them a shot based on their hard work.

    It also allows guys like Brakefield and Coleman to lower their expectations, although I would have much preferred that they try to improve their game at Duke. At the end of the day, I guess that college BB is a market like any other, which means that some go up and some go down. Williams and Brakefield weren't that far apart in the RSCI (25 and 33) but they certainly had very different freshman seasons.

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by Indoor66 View Post
    I appreciate your recital of players overseas. It makes a point worth exploring. After these guys are done playing, what Duke players will you even know of to follow? I can't name the team from two years ago, nor last years team. They have no persona for me to know or follow - wherever they might land. These sojourners become mere wandering souls with no place in the Duke Pantheon.
    I think the name of the team two years ago was "Duke". And I'll double check, but I think last year's team was also named "Duke".

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Washington, DC area
    Quote Originally Posted by Matches View Post
    Those shortcomings IMO were on display pre-covid as well. What covid did, at least temporarily, was remove the area in which college basketball was still light years ahead of the NBA - the atmosphere. When you take that part away and the presentation has to rely on the quality of play, it highlights how much the game has lost.

    Some of that is due to early entry of course, but it’s much more than that. The officiating is awful and the rules reward overly physical or slow play. The TV presentation is terrible, full of Joe Lunardi’s fantasy bracket or lame “personalities” doing shtick instead of commentary.

    The NBA went through a similar stretch in the 90s where everything was iso ball and tugging and grabbing, and that was dull too. Hopefully college ball will follow the NBA’s lead and emphasize freedom of movement in the years to come.
    They’ve been giving lip service to freedom of movement for years.

    I still miss flowy hoops.

    -jk

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Durham
    Quote Originally Posted by Duke12 View Post
    Covid has afforded most of us more time to experiment with various TV options. What I came to realize is how much inferior the college game is to the pro game. Every night, there are multiple NBA stars on TV along with the rest of the talent on the floor. The brand of basketball compared to the college game is not even close. I found the NCAA tournament ( outside the two final Gonzaga games) borderline unwatchable with many games in the 50s and low 60s. I am afraid this will be the case well into the future. For me, Covid has exposed that the college game is more about arenas, fans and ESPN hype while the product itself is simply not very good.
    coming to a college basketball fan board and telling everyone it's an inferior sport to watch is a pretty hot take. If you prefer the NBA to college, good on ya...but it's extremely presumptuous to think that EVERYONE ought to value the sport as you do.
    basketball is back, baby!

  17. #17
    His analogy is Terminator v. Terminator 2? Is his point that both are enjoyable in their own right, or is he trying to suggest that T2 is clearly better than its predecessor, which was a dystopian SciFi classic? I'm not sure that analogy means what he thinks it means...

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Marietta, Georgia
    Without getting too deep into this, I'd prefer they go to the "baseball" rule. Let them go to the NBA/G-League right out of high school, but once they officially enroll in college they must stat at least 2 years.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    New Bern, NC unless it's a home football game then I'm grilling on Devil's Alley
    I rarely watch an NBA game, and one big reason is that I don't care who wins. In college, literally every victory or every defeat has a consequence. When your regular season has like 80 games, and half the teams that do make the playoffs seem to be barely above .500, obviously losing more than a few along the way doesn't mean squat. And if the outcome doesn't mean squat, then I don't really care to watch it.

    In college, if your team is barely above .500, you are sweating wondering if you might as well start making plans for other things in March. Even the first games of the season can carry weight.

    As far as "a better product", whatever. I've never felt my heart pounding watching an NBA game in November, regardless of if there are fans in the stands.
    Q "Why do you like Duke, you didn't even go there." A "Because my art school didn't have a basketball team."

  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by CameronBornAndBred View Post
    I rarely watch an NBA game, and one big reason is that I don't care who wins. In college, literally every victory or every defeat has a consequence. When your regular season has like 80 games, and half the teams that do make the playoffs seem to be barely above .500, obviously losing more than a few along the way doesn't mean squat. And if the outcome doesn't mean squat, then I don't really care to watch it.

    In college, if your team is barely above .500, you are sweating wondering if you might as well start making plans for other things in March. Even the first games of the season can carry weight.

    As far as "a better product", whatever. I've never felt my heart pounding watching an NBA game in November, regardless of if there are fans in the stands.
    This reflects my feelings. The only reason I watch NBA before May is if I'm watching for a Duke player or if I'm watching an extraordinary talent (Curry, Giannis, LBJ). And in those instances, I also don't care much about the final score.

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