Every single March I go through this seemingly futile attempt to convince people that the NCAA Tournament is not without flaws. Let me say however that teams like Dayton, Harvard and Stephen F. Austin are everything that we love about the tournament. There’s nothing quite like seeing these young men who basked in anonymity all season celebrating their moments in the sun.
The complaints I have really have nothing to do with the teams or the match-ups at all. What bothers me still are too many timeouts, horrible seating for fans and the age old problem of inconsistent officiating.
Enough with the timeouts
One of the biggest turn-offs for me in terms of watching basketball over the last fifteen years has been fact that it takes nearly 20 minutes to half an hour to play the final two to three minutes. It started in the NBA and has moved to the college game now in suffering detail.
If you’ve watched any of the closer tournament games this year then you know the pattern. The team that is trailing will score a field goal then call timeout. They will then come out of the timeout, foul and hope to repeat the same process following the opponent’s free throw attempts.
Obviously it stands as good time management if a coach can hang on to his plethora of timeouts until the end of the half or end of the game but let’s not forget teams are also charged with ‘television timeouts’ as well. These occur following the 16, 12, 8 and four minute marks of each half and regardless of the flow of the game, as soon as there’s a whistle following one of those benchmarks. In my opinion they are nothing more then momentum stoppers but hey, we gotta have commercials right?
Binoculars from the front row
Nothing really bothers me more about the Final Four than the seating arrangements for fans of the teams playing. You don’t see it as much during the earlier round games but it is changing for the worse. Tune into a game today and get a load of the media tables that run along each sideline. As the tournament progresses, you will see the tables grow in depth.
The meaning of a ‘front row seat’ at the NCAA Tournament is not what you would expect in the regular season or anything close to what you’d see in the NBA. Quite frankly, it’s a joke.
When the Final Four rolls around you’ll notice the fan sections are placed behind the baskets and are typically a good 30 feet from the court. There has to be room for cheerleaders and cameramen of course so where does that leave the people that make the game great? As far from the court as possible.
Officiating is still suffering
I’ve watched a lot of basketball this week and I forget what game it was but the officials went to the replay four times in the final minute of the game. They didn’t do this to see who the ball went off of or whether a ball was goal tended, they didn’t to get the exact time on the clock following a foul or ball going out of bounds.
So my question is why don’t they do this every time then? Isn’t the time in the other 39 minutes of the game just as important as the final minute? If I’m the coach who has the lead in the game I couldn’t be more pissed off about this. Nine times out of ten, more time is added to the clock rather than taken away. Granted these may be tenths of seconds but it’s still added time.
This is yet another example of where the game needs to be addressed.