Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Not to Rain on their Parade, but…

The NCAA basketball tournament is still great theater, terrific competition and drama. In fact, probably even more so these days, with the really dominant college-aged players already in the NBA pushing the top teams even closer to parity than they already had become with the explosion of TV money.

And I am very happy that North Carolina won it, my heartiest congratulations go out to their players, coaches and fans. They are my favorite college team, given that my Aggies have only just begun to discover the concept of the large round ball. And the whole thing certainly worked out well for me financially this year.

But more than ever I find myself disenchanted with the game itself. Not basketball, which is a beautiful game, the ultimate example of incredible individual athletes interacting as a unit. The problem is fundamental to the college game itself.

And the problem is a simple one – you should not get three points for a midrange shot. It cheapens the game and makes it much less pleasing aesthetically. The three pointer, as a concept, is fine – giving a premium for a very long shot. It is a fine example of the kind of high-risk, high-reward strategy that can allow a weaker team to have a fighting chance to overcome a superior opponent in any sport. But when the high reward comes with very little risk, the whole structure of the game is distorted.

Let’s move the line back to the current NBA distance (and perhaps move the NBA distance back a foot or so too while we’re at it) and turn the college game back into basketball instead of a modified version of h-o-r-s-e.

And, once again, congrats to the Heels!

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