The NCAA tournament and most of the entire college basketball season has been horrible to watch, and it's the NBA's fault. This is probably bad to say, but it's true. If your team isn't in the tournament, are you pretty fired up about that big Michigan-Loyola semi? How many games have you watched of the tournament? More than 3? Maybe. But I doubt it. The games are just tough to watch and it's bad basketball. Horrible shot selections, turnover after turnover, and teams lose their minds in a close game under two or three minutes. Thank goodness for Kansas-Villanova coming up this weekend and for that Duke-Kansas game. Those were solid games with some great players. But I've long thought the NCAA tournament is overrated, and I know what you are thinking...."What?! But the upsets, the games are on all day long, the buzzer beaters, the mid majors!"
It's cool there are games on all day long during that opening weekend, and I'm sure it would be fun to sit at home all day and watch that opening weekend assuming you have no kids there and you somehow have a super important job where you "work from home on your computer making ridiculous money." But after the first weekend, do you really want to see these mid majors or the random teams make it far? I don't want to see that. I want to see the best teams with the best players who have the best shot at actually making the NBA play it out. The great thing about basketball is also what's wrong with the tournament. Anybody can beat anybody on any given day, and single elimination upsets happen ALL THE TIME. That's not true in pretty much any other sport. And it's also why in the NBA the best team ALWAYS wins it all. You can't lose to a team four times in a seven game series and still say you are better than that team. But you can lose once (looking at you Virginia and UNC) and say you should still be in the tournament. You also have teams that people argued should have been in the NIT this year that have made it to the sweet 16. There was like a week or two before tournament selections were being made and Syracuse was a "bubble team." Then they go on to make it deep in the tournament. People can argue it's parity all day long, and I do think there is less discrepancy this year in pretty much every team than in most years. But if there was only a 50% chance you were getting in the tournament and you make it past the first weekend while teams like UNC are going down, something isn't right. The teams and players just aren't as good year in and year out in the college game anymore. I know I sound about 150 years old right now, but I have a simple solution that isn't exactly rocket science.
One way to easily fix this is change the one and done rule for high school basketball players. The NBA needs to step in and say anyone is available to leave for the NBA out of high school. But if you go to college, you have to stay at least three years instead of one. That's right, I said three years. I know that sounds like a lot, and at first there would be a ton of kids declaring for the draft out of high school. This wouldn't eliminate all under the table money, but it would eliminate a lot more than there is now. Certain kids would make the wrong decision to go to the NBA out of high school, but after a few years, most kids would end up going to college for the three to four years. There are not too many Kobe, LeBron, or Kevin Garnetts out there, and after seeing countless kids that declared early for the draft fall on their face, more kids would go to college. They would actually go to some college classes, and develop their game under a coach for a solid two to three years. Players have more practice time, more instruction, and more time with their team. The NCAA tournament and the whole college basketball season would be much more interesting and you would have constant storylines about individual players like you do in college football. The top teams and schools could actually have a player they get to know and root for more than a couple months. Look at Trae Young from Oklahoma. You think he could benefit from another year in college basketball to get smarter, bigger, faster, and to have more time under Lon Kruger? Of course that would help him. I have no idea how he's going to do in the NBA, but I'm willing to bet six years from now he has a much higher likelihood of being a stable player in the NBA if he came back for another two years at OU. I hope he goes to the NBA and plays great, but the NBA and college basketball will continue to fail kids like this until they change the draft rules.