I know the NCAA Tournament is a huge plus for college basketball. I know it provides enormous amounts of money for college basketball programs - and universities in general. I truly love "The Big Dance." It is a great, great thing. But must admit to a certain sadness about it as time goes on. Let me explain. With each passing year, it becomes more evident that the NCAA Tournament has taken away from the regular season. A team can win its regular season conference title - and it is no big deal. Same for not winning the conference regular season title on, say, the last day. I watched the North Carolina-Duke game the other night. It is supposed to be the best rivalry in college basketball. However, there was something missing because the game, in reality, didn’t mean much. There is always a second or third chance in college basketball because of the postseason conference tournaments and the NCAA Tournament. While I enjoy both, I am not sure if the game has not suffered to a growing degree because everything is predicated on the NCAA tourney. Now I have covered many NCAA Tournament games. The environment, particularly for the early rounds, is odd. There is little fan reaction. Sometimes the arena is not nearly full because some fans ignore the games not involving their teams. The atmosphere pales in comparison to the Breslin Center or some of the other arenas in the Big Ten. Regular season college basketball is great. But does anybody notice it anymore? Does anybody care? Unfortunately, not as many people as there used to be.
- Handing Matt Millen and the Lions the second overall pick in the NFL draft is like trusting Carl Lewis to sing the national anthem at an NBA game. Been there. Done that. Dogs everywhere are prepared to start howling.
- I honestly do not know what to make of Ryan Howard. Is he just the product of the cozy ball park in Philly? And I know this is unfair to a degree, but like Albert Pujols, I cannot help but be suspicious of Howard’s stunning power production given what has happened in baseball’s recent past.
- A prediction: I see Michigan State beating Michigan next week in East Lansing, but the Wolverines returning the favor when they meet again in Ann Arbor.