ESPN Wisconsin

Wrong version or no version of Flash detected

NCAA hoops? It's just not the same

Mar 13, 2012 -- 5:55pm

It's just not the same

By GABE NEITZEL
gneitzel@espnwisconsin.com

College basketball isn't what it used to be. Jay Bilas has pointed it out, among others. It has pretty much become a one-month sport.

People love the NCAA Tournament, and to a lesser extent, the conference tournaments. And rightfully so. They provide excitement to the highest level of entertainment. Anything can happen, as evidenced by UCONN's 11-game winning streak a year ago to win a national title.

But because of the one-and-done rule instituted by the NCAA, those 11 games in March and April were the only ones that mattered, at least to most.

Is the one and done rule a problem? It’s not the NBA's problem. They put in a rule as they try to make their league better. There isn't much the NCAA can do to fix that problem, because you can't require someone to stay in college for an extended period of time. So this is a problem that can't be fixed.

However, the NCAA was in decline before this rule was even put in place. Players who are that good don't stick around until their senior years. Kobe and LeBron never went to college, and Kevin Durant and Carmelo Anthony stuck around just one season before bolting to the NBA. So while the one-and-done rule has hurt college hoops, the reality is that players were leaving after one year long before the rule was actually implemented.

Think about the teams from the early 1990s.

Particularly the Runnin' Rebels of UNLV and the Duke teams that won a couple of titles. They were led by superstar seniors. Now the biggest stars in college are underclassmen. There are some seniors who make a difference (Jordan Taylor and Draymond Green would be Big Ten examples), but those two aren't stars that will have tremendous success at the next level. They aren't seniors like Grant Hill, or Larry Johnson were in the 90s.

You did have the Fab Five in the 90s, but they never won a title. They lost to an experienced Duke team, and yet another veteran UNC team a year later.

While everyone out there is clamoring for a college football playoff like the college basketball tournament, college football is fighting to keep the BCS because they want their regular season to matter.

They don't want college football to become a one-month sport. And while it’s hard to imagine College football being a one-month sport, I'm sure the same was said about college basketball in the late 80s and early 90s.  

Return to: Gabe Neitzel Blog