For Playoff Action, You Can't Beat the Madness

  • Hoophead
  • Robert Karpeles
  • March 26, 2009, 1:47 PM

For a sports fan, there is nothing grander than a championship tournament. But during the last half of March and the first week in April, the NCAA men’s basketball championship is the Mount Everest of championship tournaments. Here’s why...

Just Right
While the NBA and NHL regular seasons are fantastic, nobody wants to sit through two and a half months of playoff action. March Madness is like one scoop of cookie dough ice cream: short, sweet and fulfilling.

Suspense Like No Other
I admit that NBA and NHL playoff series build up drama and bad blood between teams. And series that go the full seven games can get intense. But nothing is better than a do-or-die game like in college basketball — the suspense is simply better.

The Slipper Doesn’t Fit
In terms of length, MLB’s post-season is pretty convenient. It only lasts about a month, and there are only two playoff series until the World Series. Still, the NCAA Tournament usually presents the Cinderella team that every fan prays for. In the MLB, fans care less for teams that come out of nowhere than they do for Draco Malfoy in Harry Potter. Don’t agree? Then ask yourself this: What was the more entertaining story, the Tampa Bay Rays this past World Series or the Stephen Curry frenzy in last year’s NCAA tournament?

Perfect Timing
The scheduling of the NCAA Tournament, which only holds games from Thursday to Sunday, is unparalleled. When the playoffs in other sports fall on a week night, it gets time consuming trying to watch a game and get homework done before bedtime.

Final Four is Number 1
You are probably thinking the NFL playoffs are do-or-die, and they are also on the weekend. But you can’t compare this excitement to college basketball, especially since college basketball has multiple games on at one time.

Consider what happened in the first round last Friday night. First, Wisconsin hit a game-winning layup against Florida State. Ten seconds later, CBS switched over to show us Siena hitting a game-winning three-pointer with 3.9 seconds left against Ohio State. Talk about a bracket buster and an awesome finish! I needed some aspirin and a smelly sock after watching those two games. You say Super Bowl, I say Final Four, where you get to see two games as opposed to one.

Yes, Crying in Basketball
“Show me the money!” That funny catch phrase from the movie Jerry Maguire is what a lot of pro athletes are saying these days. But college basketball showcases players who put their hearts on the line every single tournament game simply for the pride of winning. Remember when Adam Morrison fell on the floor and cried after his Gonzaga Bulldogs lost a Sweet 16 game to UCLA in the 2006 tourney? Where else can fans get that passion?

Not Till the Fat Lady Sings
Is it me, or does every college basketball game seem to go down to the wire? Maybe it’s because there are just more games being played in the NCAA Tournament. Or maybe these kids, most of whom will never make it to the NBA, do not want their seasons and their last days of college basketball to slip away.

On this one, I’ll go with the latter.

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