Blogtable: Can NBA learn from NCAAs?

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.


  1. Deonte Davis says:

    I think the NBA should take some ideas from the NCAA and alter them to there own twist, and NBA spin, such as at the end of each season before the playoffs the bottom 2 from the east and the bottom 2 from the west face there conference counter-part in a 1-game series elimination. So that would mean only 14 teams would go to the playoffs, and this would test there drive, and determination. Then secondly I think they should make the 7-game series for the Finals 15 Minutes instead of 12 min quarters. That would test there Stamina/ Determination and there durability which is important if your going to be a (NBA) champion

    feel free to respond, and Encourage it, and want to know what other people think.

  2. Jao says:

    the only good thing the NBA should imitate from NCAA is the seeding. but instead of combining the conferences (conferences are what makes rivalries IMO, and rivalries is good for the NBA) what the NBA should do is seed the top 4 of each conference and then combine the bottom half of each conference to play a best of 3 series and let the victors emerge to play the top seeds. ofc it’s possible that all teams from one conference may go through (all the West teams beating the East teams) in which case match-ups can be done through overall seeding. travel is negligible as most playoffs games have 2 to 3 days of rest between them.

    but if you’re really looking for reforms, the fans would be more interested in reforming officiating and league transparency. nothing sucks more than knowing we have instant replay and no referee watching on the monitor to overrule bad calls especially those crucial calls late in games that can decide championships. there’s is also no transparent way to know how officials are rewarded and punished for good and bad calls made. there’s no ranking system. flopping should really be find hard too. and the player made to wear a skirt on his next game. we don’t want basketball to turn like soccer.

  3. royi440 says:

    If we already got into it, I think the NBA should change the system all around…
    The biggest problem in today’s league is predictability. Everyone knew that the Bulls, Celts, Heat, Lakers and Mavs would be on top back in july, and while the Spurs are somewhat a surprise alongside a few other teams, it’s all known in advance.

    My point is, we have to reduce the league to just 16 teams and the remaining will forn a 2nd division. The 2 worst teams from div. 1, as will the best 2 from div. 2 will swich sides and this way there would be less games in the season and a more interesting regular season. The playoffs will be formed of 8 teams going best of 7. This way the best team will have to perform well all year long instead of a post season wake-up call, see Tim Duncan this year or last year’s KG-less Celtics.

    • Carson says:

      i agree with this. make a 2nd division cut the d-leaugue crap thats basically a 2nd division and to put the worst teams like 2-4 in that category. NBA D-1 top teams NBA D-2 d-league and 2-4 worst nba teams and if theres a champ in d-2 have them challenge on teamm from d-1 or something

  4. awesomeman says:

    However the Game 7 all time would give lower seeded teams a chance, it would make it feel like, Okay, the best team had a bad game. Here, let this mediocre team who played a good game, advance lickity split. The 07 Mavs, okay. But thats just unfair to the BETTER team.

    The 16 overall would be cool, however travel would be an issue, however changing the number of games to 5, and then increasing like an extra day between games, that would work.

    But how would you find a championship? Would the no. 2 be the number 1 of a setup playoff conference, and then the actual no. 1 be the number 1 of another playoff conference? That would work.

    Also, cut out this division leading crap. Thats stupid.

  5. whatever says:

    have the worst teams get the players from the best teams. That way we can judge the caliber of players and not money. Drafts can also go to good teams.
    Pick out the 12 best teams for playoffs. Make the gap between games longer so travellign is not an issue. Combine east and west.


  6. The Doug says:

    I think the 16 Playoff teams should include the top 6 from each conference, then the next 4 teams with best records. So you only lose the number 7 spot in the East if there’s a number 9 team in the West with a better record. This way, all the deserving teams (potential Contenders) are included and the 50 win West teams don’t get snubbed.

    To fix the traveling issues–interconference playoff play should be in the 2-3-2 format like the finals.

  7. Gary says:

    Maybe they could hold the finals in a different city each year. It would allow players to not suffer from the lags of traveling and you’d probably see better games because of it. Also the people that buy tickets and travel to see their team play makes for more fans and less spectators like Steve Aschburner said.

  8. Jake says:

    The problem with just taking the top 16 teams is that you might get an East Coast team (like Boston) playing three or four West teams in a single playoffs which create traveling issues. For instance, lets say Boston gets the top seed and they play the 16 seed who happens to be Golden State (hypothetically) they beat Golden State, and then the next series they have to play Phoenix, then they play L.A. and finally they have to play the Spurs in the Finals. That would be a lot of travel, but if the NBA can go to London maybe travel isn’t really an issue.

  9. Sosay says:

    i love the idea of having bands in the nba

    • Debenz says:

      The bands are the one thing I hate about the NCAA. They are too annoying. Bands n basketball are the equivalent to the Vuvuzuela’s in soccer. The NBA doesn’t need something like that to distract the players and refs.

  10. baldguyqb says:

    I like the idea of putting all the best teams in without regard for conference. It would definitely make the first round more interesting. It’s frustrating seeing a 50 win team from one conference miss the playoffs while teams with sub-.500 records are getting blown away in the first round of the other conference. The question would be how to arrange the seeding. It may lead to a Finals where both teams are from one coast. But considering the fact that the conference finals have been more entertaining in many cases, maybe that’s a good thing.

    I definitely don’t agree with a tournament to select the top draft pick. Instead of the worst teams having a chance to get better, you would end up with teams that barely missed the playoffs getting better and the worst teams staying at the bottom of the league.

    • prix says:

      NCAA is a just a joke to me…the system dont find a great team but the upsets…Ya! NBA may learn…who would be the next draft pick…NCAA is just an individual game not a team game b’coz everybody wants to show up and hoping to be an NBA player…

    • tingyman1 says:

      agreed, there should be no tourny for the first pick. I also like the idea of a 1-16 format for the nba playoffs. it would allow for more excitement