Each week, we’ll ask our stable of scribes to weigh in on the three most important NBA topics of the day — and then give you a chance to step on the scale, too, in the comments below.
Tell us what you love about the NCAAs. Anything that the NBA can learn/borrow from that tournament?
Steve Aschburner: I like the one-and-done suspense, the school bands and the enthusiasm in the stands that bleeds all the way down to the front rows. The NBA could give us two out of three: Have live bands at more games, easing up on classic rock and the Black-Eyed Peas every so often. Then figure out a way to get more fannies in the VIP seats of folks who get crazed, rather than the jewelry-rattlers showing up to see and be seen. … OK, maybe the NBA can give us one out of three.
Fran Blinebury: Everyone loves the unpredictability of the NCAA tournament, especially the early rounds. The single-elimination format keeps everyone on edge. But let’s face it, 1-and-done does not necessarily determine the best team. That comes from lining up again and again in a best-of-seven series. There is nothing like the intensity, the familiarity and often the dislike that builds up over the course of a long series. No flukes here. Give me the NBA playoffs every time. I know that the team standing at the end of four grueling rounds in June is definitely the best.
Scott Howard-Cooper: I love the rush of every game being mega-important. I love the days full of games in the early rounds and the energy in the arenas as the field dwindles. I love seeing how young players, some from schools that have never been in those kinds of settings, respond to the new stage. But the only thing the NBA can borrow is seeding the best 16 teams, rather than holding to the current model of eight qualifiers from the East and eight from the West when it’s clear No. 9 or even No. 10 in the West may be better than No. 7 or 8 in the East. Otherwise, the NBA has it right. A series is the way to determine the best team, not a single day. That invites too many fluke outcomes. People love the upsets and may even scream for the underdog, but that’s no way to find a champion.
Shaun Powell: The NCAA tournament and NBA playoffs are special in their own right. It makes little sense for either to borrow from the other, although ultimately, the NBA ends up borrowing all the stars from the tourney. And isn’t the NCAA getting Charles Barkley on loan this year? Anyway, the beauty of the NCAA tourney lies in the first few rounds, because of the upsets, while it’s the opposite in the NBA, where the Finals crown the undisputed champion.
John Schuhmann: Every game is a Game 7, which makes for great drama. I don’t know what the NBA could do to replicate that. One idea would be for the non-playoff teams compete in a single-elimination tournament for the No. 1 draft pick, but you’d have an issue if a non-playoff team had traded its pick.
Sekou Smith: I love the win-or-go-home drama involved with each and every game of the NCAA Tournament. It makes that event truly unique in its own right. As far as what the NBA can learn or borrow from the college NCAAs, it’s slim pickings. Having covered college hoops for years before I covered the NBA, I would be pleased to dispel any of these myths about the fundamentals being better in college or more defense being played in college. That’s a complete farce. The caliber of talent is so mind-bogglingly different (dominant college players aren’t even guaranteed to earn NBA roster spots) and the quality of everything from coaching and training to the amount of time spent on the skill development is so much better in the NBA, it’s not really fair to compare the two.