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Joe Ovies

A nation turns to college basketball for their fix

Posted February 6, 2013

A weary nation of sports fans looks for their next obsession after two days of debating whether or not Joe Flacco is "elite," griping over Ray Lewis' complicated legacy, Super Bowl power outages and Beyoncé. College basketball waits for them with open arms and brackets.

While the unofficial start of the season is actually next week when Duke hosts North Carolina at Cameron Indoor Stadium, conference look-ins will begin once the fervor of National Signing Day calms down in the next 24 hours.

Fans will see Joe Lunardi on various ESPN platforms and Jerry Palm retweeted on a daily basis, each giving their updated seeding projections from now until Selection Sunday (March 17). This year appears more chaotic than others since schools seem to have an allergic reaction to being No. 1 in the polls. 

Casual fans have missed a mixed bag of action since November, which doesn't sit well with Texas athletic director DeLoss Dodds. He thinks college basketball "is in shambles," but didn't elaborate much beyond the sport getting lost in the sports calendar. 

He's not alone in lamenting college basketball's place in the pecking order.

Some of it has to do with talent drain, but the real issue facing the NCAA is time. Folks can only consume so much product during the week. Fixing the issue would require radical changes, but nobody really wants to do it out of fear of screwing up the golden goose that is March Madness.

Unlike other sports, college basketball employs a soft launch strategy during the busiest months of football. Even if schools were to shift the start of the season to late December, it would run into the wall of noise created by the NFL playoffs and whatever they end up calling the BCS in a couple of years. They'll still find themselves taking a backseat until early February. And then what happens?Will March be replaced with "May-hem?" That's not going to fly.

There's also an inventory problem. Thirty or so games with minimal impact early in the season create scenarios where losses to Florida Gulf Coast seem like they never happened to a team in the top ten. Ultimately, the regular season boils down to NCAA Tournament positioning, which is a byproduct of 68 teams in the field.

So rather than a national product, college basketball is relegated to heavier regional coverage.

There's nothing wrong with that status, especially in traditionally strong basketball areas such as the Triangle. It's really easy to do four hours of radio and fill up digital column space on the day-to-day of North Carolina, Duke and NC State. 

But that's not good enough for ADs and presidents looking to squeeze as much money out of the sport as they can. That kind of thinking will eventually bring about a field of 128 teams, which nobody truly wants.

15 Comments

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  • GunnyGoesArrrgh Feb 7, 8:13 a.m.

    I don't wait for the Super Bowl to watch and care about college basketball; to me the season starts with "Late Night With Roy". The Duke/Carolina game won't be as exciting as it has in years past, unfortunately, but that doesn't diminish my love for the greatest sport: college basketball, specifically ACC basketball. The emergence of State as a good basketball team has made Triangle hoops even more exciting.

  • Hokies94 Feb 6, 8:21 p.m.

    The schedule is fine to begin basketball in November. December is too late. This format has... View More

    — Posted by Hokies94

    actually,I thought 64 was enough.

    — Posted by dukiedon45

    Thinking back I can agree on this too. But, since they have 68 right now, I can live with this. Money rules.

  • Hammerhead Feb 6, 6:25 p.m.

    Other than some of the more interesting college basketball games, some March Madness and the Final Four, the Super Bowl is pretty much the end of my serious sports season. It becomes white noise until football starts back up in Sept. I get pretty stoked to work and play outside this time of year.

  • dukiedon45 Feb 6, 6:21 p.m.

    The schedule is fine to begin basketball in November. December is too late. This format has... View More

    — Posted by Hokies94

    actually,I thought 64 was enough.

  • Hokies94 Feb 6, 5:54 p.m.

    I will watch college basketball from the get-go, that includes the early season tip-offs and... View More

    — Posted by PanthersFan45

    I too feel the same PanthersFan. Sports gave me my identity in high school. I love football and basketball more on the college level. I can appreciate your last few sentences too.

  • PanthersFan45 Feb 6, 5:03 p.m.

    I will watch college basketball from the get-go, that includes the early season tip-offs and the ACC-Big10 Challenge. I'm a big sports fan in general and pro football is tops with me. I grew up playing sports (mainly baseball & football). I've always had a strong connection with sports and its great entertainment. I will add I'm looking forward to NCAA bracket time again and seeing how I do in the annual offic pool. I have had the misfortunae of having Obama pick the same team to win it as me ...... I think that's put a hex on it.

  • Hokies94 Feb 6, 4:39 p.m.

    The schedule is fine to begin basketball in November. December is too late. This format has worked well for a long time now. I truly hope that we stay at 68 teams for the NCAA's. 128 teams would be a total joke.

  • greg11 Feb 6, 3:46 p.m.

    I think i could have came up with something better to write about than that. So the unofficial season starts after State beats Duke and UNC? WOW.

  • Pack Girl Feb 6, 1:24 p.m.

    " unofficial start of the season is actually next week when Duke hosts North Carolina at Cameron Indoor Stadium"...Excuse me??? So, the big ACC match ups prior to next week were just for casual spectators and non-fans? Who did you write this article to...football or basketball fans? Or non-sports fans at all? It's really a shame to see that you have revealed your true colors as a newby to the ACC where UNC and Duke are the only schools that matter. And you all wonder why everybody else hates these schools. You just clearly exposed the smug attitude that is so prevalent that none of you UNC & Duke fans will admit to.

  • hi_i_am_wade Feb 6, 12:40 p.m.

    College basketball isn't in shambles in the states of North Carolina, Kentucky, and Indiana.

    However, there is an easy fix to both college basketball and the NBA. It is the baseball solution: you either have to go to the NBA right away or wait 3 years. The NFL forces players to be a certain age, and it has made college football and the NFL a better product and thus more likely to be watched. If the NBA and the NBA players union actually decided to do some forward thinking, we could greatly improve both the NBA and college basketball.

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Scoreboard
Local
Final
UVA 27
UNC 28
Final
NCCU 42
SAVST 14
 
1:00pm Today
CAR
SEA
Final
SFG 11
KAN 4
8:07pm Tonight
SFG
KAN
 
Final
WISC 52
MD 7
Final
SMU 10
MEM 48
Final
ILL 28
MINN 24
Final
RICE 41
UNT 21
Final
NEB 42
RUTG 24
Final
KST 23
TEX 0
Final
ARK 45
UAB 17
Final
UVA 27
UNC 28
Final
EMICH 17
NILL 28
Final
NAVY 41
SJST 31
Final
BST 35
AKR 21
Final
GASTATE 31
GASO 69
Final
TOL 42
UMASS 35
Final
WMICH 42
OHIO 21
Final
COL 37
UCLA 40
Final
UMO 10
KSU 3
Final
WAKE 17
BC 23
Final
BUF 14
CMICH 20
Final
MARS 35
FATL 16
Final
PITT 28
GT 56
Final
SMISS 20
LATU 31
Final
MSU 35
MICH 11
Final
KENT 31
MSST 45
Final
STAN 38
ORST 14
Final
TCU 82
TTU 27
Final
OKST 10
WVU 34
Final
WKENT 66
ODU 51
Final
UTST 34
UNLV 20
Final
MIZZ 24
VANDY 14
Final
UCF 34
TEMPL 14
Final
WASU 37
ARZ 59
Final
CLEM 16
SYR 6
Final
LAMON 18
TXST 22
Final
TXSANANTO 0
UTEP 34
Final
COLST 45
WYO 31
Final
LSU 10
MISS 7
Final
TENN 20
ALA 34
Final
AUB 42
SCAR 35
Final
PSU 24
OSU 31
 
4th
UTAH 17
USC 21
 
3rd
WASH 0
ARST 10
 
2nd
HAW 7
NEV 0
 
Final
SJS 1
BUF 2
Final
TOR 1
BOS 4
Final
NYI 7
DAL 5
Final
PHI 4
DET 2
Final
OTT 2
NJD 3
Final
MON 3
NYR 1
Final
STL 3
CHI 2
Final
NAS 0
PIT 3
Final
MIN 7
TAM 2
Final
ARI 2
FLA 1
Final
CAL 1
WAS 3
3:00pm Today
WIN
COL
 
4:00pm Today
LOS
CLB
 
7:00pm Tonight
CHI
OTT
 
8:00pm Tonight
ANA
SJS
 
9:30pm Tonight
VAN
WAS
 
9:30am Today
ATL
DET
1:00pm Today
CIN
BAL
1:00pm Today
NYJ
BUF
1:00pm Today
NEP
CHI
1:00pm Today
TEN
HOU
1:00pm Today
JAC
MIA
1:00pm Today
TAM
MIN
1:00pm Today
CAR
SEA
1:00pm Today
KAN
STL
4:05pm Today
ARI
PHI
4:25pm Today
PIT
IND
4:25pm Today
CLE
OAK
8:30pm Tonight
NOS
GBP
Final
NCCU 42
SAVST 14