(Hopefully) good sports essays and observations for good sports by a guy who tries (and can sometimes fail) to be a good sport.


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Friday, March 24, 2017

Is College Basketball Un-Watchable?

Even when Dean Smith perfected the "Four Corners" offense (in the days before the shot clock), it was riveting.  Perhaps because there were fewer games on TV, perhaps because fewer teams made the tournament (back in the day, if you didn't win your conference, you didn't get in, period) or. . . perhaps because there aren't an incessant number of timeouts that break up if not inhibit the flow of play and enable coaches to micromanage almost every aspect of the game. 

The NFL is bad enough.  Sure, you need huddles, but then there are about 21 minutes of commercials per contest.  If you've ever been to a stadium to watch a game, you wonder what's going on and why there is so much time when the players and the fans are just standing around.  But in college basketball?  TV timeouts every four minutes?  Plus each team gets a multitude of timeouts per half.  The average final three minutes of a close game can take 15 minutes or more to play. 

So much for riveting, so much for a lot of drama happening fast.  Nope, instead, what we get is a barrage of ads, a few plays, a foul, perhaps a change in possession and then a team calls a timeout.  And then they play for 90 seconds, and then there is a turnover, a few fouls, a few bucket and then -- a TV timeout.  So much for the flow of the game.

I like college basketball for the most part, but the length of the games, the amount of timeouts and ads can drive a fan to distraction -- or to do something else.  Money, of course, dictates this course, and so long as the colleges follow the money, the problem is only going to get worse. 

Let the players play -- and figure out a way to let a beautiful game flow as opposed to have constant interruptions.  Watching college basketball today is like watching a classic movie on a commercial TV station -- there is no good way to break up the movie to place the commercials.  Watching it in an arts theatre or on a pay channel without interruption guarantees the rendering that the writes and directors want you to see.  Right now, we watch the games with too much interruption.  Yes, timeouts always will be a part of the game -- but how many are needed, and how long must they be?


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