Wednesday, March 30, 2011

"Maddening March"

Quick, tell me what VCU stands for. What is their mascot? Where is Butler located? I am willing to guess that you were unable to answer all three of those without hesitation and Google. The national media tells us that this is the beauty of the NCAA tournament, that every team has a chance to win the Championship. No year has epitomized that notion quite like this year's NCAA tournament.
Butler (8 seed) and VCU (11) have reached the Final Four by defeating the likes of Kansas, Florida, Pittsburgh, and Florida State...OK, well, the first three were upsets. No one, expert or amateur, predicted VCU to escape the first round, much less make the Final Four. (This is the part where we recall what Dick Vitale had to say about VCU making the tourney.) As great as the stories have been, does the public really want to see Butler of VCU crowned champion?
March Madness is great for the casual observer. Cinderella stories are essentially what drives the NCAA tournament but are they really good for the sport? Sure, it is an entertaining story but ratings show that people would rather view two "powerhouses" instead of two mid conference teams. Veiwership is the ultimate reason for the tournament field being as large as it is. More viewers equals more revenue. You understand.
I find March Madness frustrating. It tears me in two between the fan who wants to see strictly entertaining games and the fan who wants to watch the sport be played at its best by its best. The concept of a playoff in NCAA football is entertaining and the case is strong for one. My hesitation lies in its ability to stay exclusive. If, and only if, the officials can gurantee to limit a football playoff to the top 6 or 8 teams would I sign off. Remember, viewership is the goal of all this; not Championships. The more teams brought into the field the more people watch your program. You understand.
So as America sits back this weekend to watch Cinderella prolong midnight, ask yourself if the idea of Butler or VCU calling themselves the best team in the nation sits well with you as a fan of sport.

No comments:

Post a Comment