Why March Madness is better than the NBA Playoffs

Daniel Williams

One of the most exciting games the Northridge community ever watched was between its underdog Matadors and basketball powerhouse Memphis in the first round of the NCAA Tournament two weeks ago. Even though the Matadors lost, they played inspiringly and students of the commuting state institution were finally locked in emotion, cheering for their school.’ That a first round game accomplished such a feat tells us all one thing: March Madness is superior to the NBA playoffs.’

We’re down to the Final Four.’ The NCAA offers some of the most exciting games that are available to watch.’ With the exception of the Super Bowl, March Madness attracts more viewers than any other postseason.’ College basketball tends to be far more entertaining to watch than the NBA Playoffs.’

For one, fans get far more involved.’ Most college basketball fans fill out a bracket for the NCAA tournament.’ Every sports enthusiast seems to think they can predict who will win each game.’ It draws them in.’ The brackets are a fun way to see how wrong we all are ‘hellip; Damn you, Louisville.’

The emotions in these games are higher than in most of the NBA Playoffs as well.’ One big reason is the fact that the NCAA Tournament is more intense in the way that, if you lose one game, your season is over. In contrast, every round of the NBA Playoffs is a series.’ One-game eliminations increase the chance of a top-ranked team getting upset in the first round ‘hellip; Damn you Wake Forest.

Also, there are many players at the college level who you will likely never hear from again.’ These athletes will never be MVPs, wear a championship ring, or even get a chance to sit on the bench of an NBA team.’ A college championship has even avoided the grasp of some of the NBA’s greatest players, especially since the NBA used to take all the potential college talent away by drafting high school kids.’ This tournament is the high point of many players’ athletic career and they have more at stake than professionals.

Also, college basketball has a single champion. In college football, there is no playoff system.’ Instead, bowl games are organized through the BCS rankings.’ This has led to arguments that sometimes more than one team is worthy of being called a national champion. Despite starting off with 64 teams in the first round, March Madness always comes down to just one team.’

The NBA Playoffs are usually anticlimactic. Often times, top-seeded teams don’t even make it to the conference finals. The reason for this is the NBA not using a reseeding system, the way the NHL does.’ In the Stanley Cup playoffs, the team with the highest seed is always playing the lowest seed available. This prevents the teams with the best records from playing each other in the early rounds.’

The NBA also has had problems retaining its audience in the later rounds of the playoffs because some of the top teams are eliminated in the semifinals. Ratings for the NBA Finals are usually low unless an audience-drawing team ‘- let’s say the Lakers ‘- is playing. This could all be avoided with reseeding. That way, big-market teams wouldn’t get eliminated too soon.

Now, this isn’t to say college basketball is better than professional. Of course not. Games in the NBA have more scoring, less turnovers and more spectacular plays.’ However, the emotion in college basketball is severely unmatched by its professional counterpart. Fans are far more involved in March Madness than they are in the NBA Playoffs. It’s just plain better. There will be two amazing games in this Final Four, even though my bracket is useless now ‘hellip; Damn you, Michigan State; damn you, Villanova; and damn you, Pac -10, for completely disappearing.