Adam Gold

College basketball, problem solved

Posted November 13, 2013

I'm not sure if you've heard the news or not, but the sport of college basketball is dying. Interest in the game, attendance and the ability for Joe the Plumber to recognize the starting line ups of the top teams in the country is at an all-time low — similar to the current approval rating of members of congress (which, for the record is at a staggering 9%). Never mind that Joe the Plumber and his Wednesday night bowling league buddies also couldn't name the starters along the offensive line of their favorite NFL team, the point is that some people don't know the names of the players and therefore college hoops is one step away from being thoroughbred horse racing — relevant only for a 6-week stretch from May to the middle of June.

Accept in the case of college basketball, the body is only suitable for viewing from mid-February through the first week in April.

Alas, I do believe we've discovered the antidote for whatever it may be that ails the college game, and we didn't even need Alexander Fleming-like ingenuity to figure it all out. Tuesday night in Chicago, in the span of about five hours, everything that was wrong with college basketball (according to some) became everything that was right about the game.

The Champions Classic, a made-for-ESPN double-feature, brings together four of the most-storied college basketball programs in the game, but last night showcased even more than the names on the front of the jerseys. Last night, between Kentucky, Michigan State, Kansas and Duke, we saw at least a dozen (probably more) first round picks in the next NBA draft, at least half of those likely to be gone in the top half and quite possibly the first three overall selections. But honestly, that is relatively common in these early-season events. What separated this from other tournament-like entities was that with very few exceptions, all of these players demonstrated a skill, if not a flair, that was so incredibly appealing that it will have no choice but to carry into the season.

Duke's Jabari Parker was electrifying in a similar way that Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel was a year ago -- minus the autograph sessions. Julius Randle dominated the middle for Kentucky like defensive end Jadaveon Clowney has done for South Carolina. And, why is it that Florida State's precocious freshman quarterback has made us forget that the Seminoles last quarterback was taken 16th overall in the most-recent NFL draft but we have a hard time remembering his accomplishments. Jameis Winston is the hottest thing going in college football even though he's just nine games into his career. Similarly, Kansas' Andrew Wiggins has played just twice and you can tell the absolute star he's destined to be to the point that I can't recall a single player off last year's Jayhawks team that probably should have ended the year in the Final Four.

There have been many criticisms of college hoops over the last few years. The best players don't stick around long enough. The sport is dominated by younger and younger players who aren't ready to excel and haven't developed the skill necessary to be successful at the highest level of the college game. And, without "known commodities", the casual fan can't wrap his (or her) mind around the lack of star power in the game and stars are what sells tickets.

That would all make sense if they all weren't problems that college football has to deal with on a yearly basis and I don't hear anyone talking about how that sport is on life-support. Even though football is experiencing declining ticket sales even in the pigskin-equals-oxygen Southeastern Conference. This just in, ladies and gentlemen, college sports -- regardless of the game -- experiences a lot of player turnover EVERY YEAR. It's the nature of the 4-year window we get to watch even the best players.

Now, with the enormous amounts of money available to the athletes in the professional ranks, and the limited window in which to tap into those riches, players are looking for the earliest possible opportunity to graduate to the pros. Do you blame them? I certainly don't. Would it be great if players stayed longer? Would it be better for their development as players, as people? Would it ultimately be better for the NBA -- and NFL? Of course it would, but do we want to live in a fantasy world or reality?

Last night, for all of college sports' warts, we watched not only the coming-out of three uber-stars of basketball's future, but we also discovered other wonderful players and saw two games played at such a high level it was hard to believe that there were so many underclassmen involved -- and it was the only second week of November. If you watched last night, I'll bet you'll tune in just about every time Kentucky, Kansas and Duke are on television.

Last night was the type of performance that creates fans, no matter how broken the game appears to some.

33 Comments

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  • stingray1905 Nov 17, 9:41 p.m.

    Adam and Joe Blow

  • snapjack Nov 14, 9:46 p.m.

    BB is such a bore. I'd rather listen to Adam and blow, I mean Joe, than watch one minute. The only thing worse is the NBA. The only reason ESPN covers any of it is because they own both.

  • CharGrad13 Nov 14, 6:05 p.m.

    Do some of you even read the dang articles? Not just read, but COMPREHEND the articles. Looks like half of you read the title and that is it.

  • S.HOLMES Nov 14, 9:57 a.m.

    someone must have gotten under Golds skin and he had to be sarcastic in replying.

  • StunGunn Nov 14, 7:24 a.m.

    I thoroughly enjoyed those games, and we may have gotten a preview of the Final Four. In addition to seeing some of the best players, we also got to see some of the best coaches in college ball. My only complaint is the time; to start the Duke/Kansas game at 10:30 is nuts for east coast fans.

    I wasn't aware that college basketball has been struggling; the NBA maybe, but college ball? Maybe it's because we live in the hotbed of college hoops, but college ball seems to be alive and well here in the Triangle.

  • tayled Nov 14, 6:21 a.m.

    Joe the Plumber can't afford to go to the games, the exorbitant ticket prices and concessions make it out of his reach. That's what's wrong.

  • Cragsdale Nov 13, 10:06 p.m.

    wanna solve what's wrong with College hoops? Force kids toe graduate before they can go to the NBA

  • KillswitchEngage Nov 13, 6:26 p.m.

    I am a 6 foot tall white man. When I was coming up, Bobby Hurley, Steve Hale, Steve Kerr and... View More

    — Posted by YouGotThatRight

    Lol, I know a few Duke fans who were miffed at coach K for not recruiting and playing any white... View More

    — Posted by KillswitchEngage

    Murphy and Plumlee are white and they were recruited and played last night... And when they were... View More

    — Posted by 903 Hook em banned

    I meant starting...

  • 903 Hook em banned Nov 13, 6:24 p.m.

    I am a 6 foot tall white man. When I was coming up, Bobby Hurley, Steve Hale, Steve Kerr and... View More

    — Posted by YouGotThatRight

    Lol, I know a few Duke fans who were miffed at coach K for not recruiting and playing any white... View More

    — Posted by KillswitchEngage

    Murphy and Plumlee are white and they were recruited and played last night... And when they were in, you can clearly see why Coach K starts the others...

  • Hammerhead Nov 13, 6:20 p.m.

    I am a 6 foot tall white man. When I was coming up, Bobby Hurley, Steve Hale, Steve Kerr and... View More

    — Posted by YouGotThatRight

    Pure awesomeness.

More...

 

 

  • Big 10: Michigan at Michigan State

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    Tomorrow at 6:30 pm on 99.9 The Fan

Scoreboard
Local
Final
GT 80
NCSU 81
Final
LOU 78
UNC 68
1st
NYR 2
CAR 0
 
1st
UVA 13
DUKE 20
 
1st
ETST 20
NCCU 25
 
9:00pm Tonight
DEN
CHA
1st
ORL 11
DAL 24
 
1st
IND 12
SAC 25
 
1st
WAS 26
TOR 26
 
7:30pm Tonight
DET
HOU
7:30pm Tonight
ATL
PHI
8:00pm Tonight
MIN
CLE
8:00pm Tonight
MEM
OKC
8:30pm Tonight
MIL
POR
9:00pm Tonight
DEN
CHA
9:00pm Tonight
SAN
LAC
10:30pm Tonight
GSW
PHO
Final
TENN 71
AUB 63
Final
CLEM 64
BC 49
Final
STJOE 75
DAVID 70
Final
GT 80
NCSU 81
Final
PITT 76
ND 72
Final
STJ 75
PROV 66
Final
UNH 63
USB 48
 
Final
WVU 77
TTU 58
Final
TEMPL 55
TULA 37
Final
EMICH 69
WMICH 63
 
Final
IOWA 63
WISC 74
Final
SHU 90
XAV 82
Final
UF 57
ARK 56
Final
STET 75
LIP 73
 
Final
ILL 60
PSU 58
Final
TULSA 78
SFLA 71
Final
INDST 64
BRAD 58
 
Final
MAINE 59
GTDNS 77
 
Final
LEH 89
BU 86
 
Final
MARQ 68
BUT 72
Final
DEL 71
COC 68
 
Final
CREI 40
GEOR 67
Final
CLST 76
UWGB 62
 
Final
NEOM 65
MAST 75
 
Final
LOYC 45
ILLST 48
 
Final
KU 68
KYST 57
Final
JVU 50
KNST 51
 
Final
MSST 73
LSU 67
Final
SHU 71
MNTER 77
 
Final
VCU 55
RICH 64
Final
ISU 83
TCU 66
Final
BING 76
MLOWELL 69
 
Final
HART 46
VERM 65
 
Final
DEP 55
VILL 68
Final
WAKE 73
VT 70
Final
UGST 74
ARKST 43
 
Final
FAM 44
COOK 61
 
Final
NDAK 80
IDST 69
 
Final
ARMY 71
GHND 77
 
Final
BEL 71
TENT 53
 
Final
TXSA 57
UAB 65
Final
ILLCH 65
VALPO 70
 
Final
DRAK 70
EVAN 65
 
Final
IND 72
RUTG 64
Final
UMO 79
BST 73
 
Final
RMU 68
BRY 71
 
Final
WAGN 86
CCST 55
 
Final
GWEBB 66
CCAR 64
 
Final
MDES 92
COPST 82
 
Final
RFLSH 68
FD 63
 
Final
RIU 59
GWU 55
Final
SCAR 67
UGA 50
 
Final
Terriers 81
LIU 64
 
Final
PAC 71
LMU 76
 
Final
STLU 56
UMASS 60
Final
HOW 64
MRGST 48
 
Final
DREX 85
UNCW 76
 
Final
LOU 78
UNC 68
Final
MIZZ 47
MISS 67
Final
ALCOR 51
SOUTH 59
 
Final
NIOWA 70
WICHS 54
Final
JMU 65
WMARY 84
 
Final
RAD 73
WINT 66
 
Final
EILL 57
SIUE 54
 
Final
UNCA 70
CAMP 63
 
Final
MORE 57
EKENT 66
 
Final
NICST 58
INCWORD 69
 
Final
CMICH 74
OHIO 69
 
Final
TEXAM 69
VANDY 58
 
Final
UWMIL 78
DET 74
 
Final
UNCG 73
WCU 78
 
Final
EWASH 98
IDAHO 95
 
Final
SDKST 69
DEN 39
 
2nd
SHSU 57
HOUB 44
 
Final
MVSU 75
JST 62
 
2nd
TXST 55
LALAF 56
 
2nd
LATU 79
MARS 55
 
2nd
SD 72
ORU 71
 
Final
LAMON 67
SALA 61
 
Half
PVU 47
ALAAM 23
 
2nd
GRAM 25
ARKPB 26
 
2nd
PRIN 55
DART 45
 
2nd
SCST 43
DELST 38
 
2nd
COLST 54
FRES 32
 
2nd
MINN 42
NEB 35
 
2nd
WYO 45
NEV 36
 
2nd
GAELS 46
PEPP 43
 
2nd
NW 39
PURD 51
 
2nd
BAY 55
TEX 41
 
2nd
CHAT 64
CITA 49
 
2nd
SMISS 39
WKENT 49
 
2nd
CORN 37
YALE 43
 
Half
NORST 28
HAMP 22
 
Half
SAV 30
NCAT 28
 
1st
BGU 20
AKR 12
 
1st
KENT 20
ALA 7
 
1st
CLMB 19
BRO 23
 
1st
LIB 11
CSOU 17
 
1st
BUCK 10
COL 14
 
1st
UVA 13
DUKE 20
 
1st
NE 23
ELON 17
 
1st
CHAR 22
FIU 23
 
1st
ODU 17
FATL 12
 
1st
SAMF 15
FUR 24
 
1st
DUQ 11
GMAS 10
 
1st
PENN 9
HARV 18
 
1st
LBSU 9
HAW 17
 
1st
BONA 14
LAS 13
 
1st
NAVY 21
LAF 24
 
1st
PBY 11
LONG 20
 
1st
WOFF 14
MERC 18
 
1st
ETST 20
NCCU 25
 
1st
MCNST 0
NO 0
 
1st
FLGC 25
NKENTUCKY 14
 
1st
IONA 8
PETE 15
 
1st
UNF 23
USCU 19
 
1st
LAM 13
ABCHRIST 6
 
7:30pm Tonight
GSOUT
ARKLR
 
1st
STEPH 2
TAMCC 2
 
8:00pm Tonight
UCR
CSNO
 
8:00pm Tonight
SELA
NWST
 
8:00pm Tonight
OKST
OKLA
8:00pm Tonight
UNT
RICE
8:00pm Tonight
SDU
USF
 
8:00pm Tonight
NMU
SJST
8:00pm Tonight
PEAY
SEMIZ
 
8:00pm Tonight
NILL
TOL
 
8:00pm Tonight
HOF
TOWS
 
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SMU
UCF
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MURST
TENNM
 
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UTST
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MIZST
SILL
 
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TROY
 
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ALAST
 
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TENST
JVST
 
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STAN
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CHIST
 
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MTST
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SUTAH
NARZ
 
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SCU
 
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TXPA
 
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NCOL
WEBER
 
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AFA
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UCD
CPSL
 
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GONZ
MEM
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SEAT
 
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UCSB
 
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SACST
MONT
 
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PORST
MNTST
 
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UCLA
COL
10:30pm Tonight
WLVRN
UMKC
 
Final
DET 4
NYI 1
1st
NYR 2
CAR 0
 
1st
WIN 0
DAL 1
 
1st
NJD 1
FLA 0
 
1st
PHI 1
TOR 0
 
7:30pm Tonight
TAM
CLB
10:00pm Tonight
CAL
EDM
10:30pm Tonight
SJS
CHI