Letter To The Editor

This post comes from Lakeland, FL native Jeremy Wilson. Jeremy wrote our first ever guest post entitled, The Curious Case of Jeremy (Lin). He is now joining us to blaze another trail and to help spark a debate. This is our first “letter to the editor”, in which he is responding to Colin’s post yesterday on why the NBA Playoffs are better than March Madness. He originally started writing it as a comment and then it kept getting longer and longer and was submitted as a guest post. Feel free to weigh in on the debate in the comment section below!

Colin, here are my thoughts about the “arguments” you bring to the table. I wrote my comments using your same format as a reference point.

The NCAA tournament is more exciting:
Your argument- “Each game in the NBA series carries a heavy weight of importance.” You know what kind of games carry a truly heavy weight of importance?—A win or go home game. When the final buzzer sounds, one team is sent packing. That makes every NCAA tourney game pretty damn important, whereas an NBA team can afford to lose 3 games and still go on to the next round. The NCAA tournament’s drama is the threat of your season ending every time you tip it off. The Heat winning by 33 isn’t exactly gluing me to the television.

NCAA is more fun to watch:
Any legitimate college hoops fan could name more than 2 players on the top 10 teams in college. That IS an indictment of your college basketball knowledge, and there IS enough talent to garner your attention, especially this year. The upcoming NBA Draft is LOADED with talent coming out of college basketball, one of the most loaded drafts in recent history. An NBA fan like you should be keeping up with these players throughout the year because these are the guys that will be the faces of the NBA years later. Don’t you wish that you could have watched LeBron in college? With the one-and-done rule the best players have to play college hoops, giving us the opportunity to watch/evaluate them playing against legitimate talent before they hit the main stage of the NBA. It’s like getting sneak peek movie ticket.

The NBA Playoffs have more longevity:
“You might not even get a chance to watch your team play in the NCAA because of seeding and time slot. What a waste.” False. In 2011, CBS and Turner Sports signed a new television/coverage deal allowing every game of the tournament to be watched in completion on its own channel. All games are on one of these stations—CBS, TNT, TBS, and Tru TV—giving a South Dakota State fan the same chance to watch their team’s whole game as a Syracuse fan. And no, just because Tru TV shows one of the games doesn’t mean that the production is a lower quality. All 4 of those channels are made equal for the tourney.

Charles Barkley:
As I mentioned before, Turner Sports now covers the NCAA tourney, which means that Sir Charles (and all other NBA-TNT guys) now covers the NCAA tourney. NCAA tourney also adds Nantz, Vern, Rafftery, Kellogg, and Bilas. The coverage & the breakdown of the NCAA tourney is unmatched.

Each game in the NBA is different:
“College coaches aren’t given that opportunity to strategize because as they win a new opponent is now on the horizon.” I think you’re arguing your own point here. An NBA playoff series is a guaranteed 4 games against the same opponent. You can only make minimal adjustments when you are playing the same guys over and over the NCAA tournament round is one game per team, making every game very different. Coaches have to scout their current game and possible future opponents, opponents that possess all types of playing styles. Yes, playing the same team repeatedly will build great story lines, but in no way does that make each game more different than each NCAA tourney matchup.

Here’s the difference: regular season college atmosphere > regular season NBA atmosphere, and that flip flops for the post season. The NCAA tournament provides roughly 90% of the NCAA’s yearly revenue. Playing games in football domes = more seats, and more seats = more money. That’s why they do that. Back to your main point, college fans are rowdy all season. The NBA can’t compete with the student-section atmosphere until the playoffs. When I traveled with the Vols’ basketball team to that joke of an arena located 2.5 hours west of Knoxville (that was for you, Joseph), I was able to see an awesome road game environment up close and personal. They passed out white t-shirts with “War on I-40” printed on them (sidenote- this is a name for the rivalry that only they use, classic Vandy). They had deafening chants and screams, and hell, I even saw their mascot punch a student!!! I think this subject is a push, because both atmospheres are electric at different times of the year.

It means more:
Honest question: which one meant more to the city of Memphis—the Grizzlies going to the conference finals or Tiger High going to the final four? Judging by conversations I’ve listened to between my Memphis friends, I would say that the Tigers making the final four is more important to the city, because they are the city’s team. The FedEx Forum is infinitely fuller for a mid-week Tigers’ game than a mid-week Grizzlies game. Also, colleges who make consistent, deep postseason runs generate the “Flutie Effect”—the Flutie Effect happens when colleges receive a major increase in applications and interest due to national attention brought on by their athletic team(s). Plus, NBA teams are usually in large cities/markets with multiple pro teams. Memphis & OKC are two teams in the playoffs that buck that trend. The cities of Boston, LA, Orlando, Chicago, Dallas and Miami (just to name a few) aren’t going to see a major impact because of a pro team making a playoff run.

In conclusion, I enjoy the NBA playoffs more than the NCAA tournament. I like seeing the best against the best, so I like the best of seven format better than the one and done format too. However, trying to persuade someone to agree with the format by telling them that it’s more exciting is inaccurate and lazy. After all, it’s just personal preference. Clayton finds the mandolin and the djembe more interesting than I do, but that doesn’t make them more exciting. You need to come at people with facts rather than personal opinion—for instance, show how TV ratings were much lower for the UConn v Butler title game than the Kentucky v Kansas title game—proving that the majority of people like watching the best vs the best. The NBA playoffs weed out most irrational upsets, and the one’s that they don’t weed out either get exposed in the second round or are actual contenders. Examples: The eight seed Golden State beating the one seed Mavs in 6 games in 2007—next round? Dismantled by the Jazz in 5 games. Then, the 2011 eight seed Grizzlies beating the one seed Spurs—as you know, the Grizzlies went on to lose in game seven to the Thunder in the next round, proving that they were a contender. Using facts and examples can actually change someone’s mind, but telling them that what they like isn’t as good as what you like should be a last resort. That being said, I feel like your blog post was just reasons why you like the NBA, not a legitimate case for why it is or isn’t better than the NCAA tournament. New post title—“I like the NBA playoffs.”

I was intrigued when I saw this post, because I feel like most casual sports fans would say they like the NCAA tourney better than the NBA playoffs right off the bat without putting any thought into it, and because I love both college hoops and the NBA. I was just disappointed that you picked out arguing points that could swing the casual fan either way so easily, and not ones that showed how different the two postseasons are. Like I said, I like the NBA playoffs better than the NCAA tourney. I thought that reading this post would cement that into my head, but it instead pushed me more towards siding with the NCAA tournament. But hey, it’s personal opinion after all.


Posted on by Clayton Martin in Basketball, Featured, Guest Spots, Sports

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