March Madness vs. the NBA Playoffs
It is one of the most exciting times of the year. The NCAA tournament round of 64 gets underway officially on Thursday. If you are a basketball fan this is definitely the best couple weeks of basketball in the whole year. There are definitely fans out there that would argue that the NBA playoffs are more exciting. So let's take a look at the two events and really compare them.
First of all, the talent level of basketball is completely different. The NBA holds the greatest talent in the world playing the game. For some reason though the defensive efforts seems to be way stronger in the NCAA tournament. The reason for this is want and desire. That is not saying that the players in the NBA do not have the want and desire to succeed, but college kids are on a national stage. For most of these athletes this is the highest level of success they will ever have. With that being said, it is a place to showcase their talents. For instance Ron Baker had a great tournament last year and got himself an NBA job out of that. There are also rules in the NBA that prevent players from playing the same type of basketball that is played in college ranks, but that is an article for a different day.
Let’s look directly at the NCAA tournament. It is a wonderful money driven concept that has worked well and contributes to a good chunk of the NCAA money. There are 68 teams that make it into the tournament (it really should be 64 the added 4 teams are kind of a waste). They all achieve this goal by having a solid regular season campaign and then being picked by a special committee. Those guys probably are looking to see which teams will help them make the most money (but what do I know). From there they have to win 6 games in a row and that team will become champion, easy right? For something so simple this is by far the most exciting event in basketball right now. It is a simple one and done format. The teams battle head to head in the span of 3 weeks making it exciting edge of your seat action. The best part about it is there is not a series being played so there will be plenty of upsets. That is something that rarely happens in the NBA now. All of these teams also seem to be on a fairly even playing field as well.
The NBA playoffs are definitely a different animal. They are fun to watch, but the way the NBA is currently constituted upsets do not really happen. It can be a little boring because at the beginning of the season there are only a handful of teams that even have a shot at winning the NBA championship. That is really the big difference between both tournaments. The NCAA feeds off the upset where the NBA wants the stars to be showcased as much as possible. Hence why they do not change any rules when the Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors are currently stacking every veteran player that needs a job. Granted the NBA is a star driven league and ratings are good, but as a fan it is difficult to see how another team will swoop in to make some noise between the top five teams in the league. For instance, if the 8th seed beat the Cavaliers in the playoffs this year that would be amazing from a fan perspective, the odds of that are happening are very slim. A 15 seed can take out a 2 seed in the NCAA tournament though. These are the things that make March Madness so much more fun than the NBA Finals.
Overall, there should not be any changes to either system. The NBA is doing just fine and does not need to change their format. The finals recently have created a fun rivalry and there is great basketball being played in the playoffs. That does not change that the NCAA tournament is way more fun to watch. Fans get to fill out their brackets and brag to their friends when they pick an upset. That is what it is all about. Both systems are good for their respective organizations as well. If the NBA had a one and done format, the teams would hate it, if the NCAA had a conventional playoff series format it would go to long. Either way enjoy March Madness, join the OTGBasketball Bracket Challenge and when the NBA playoffs come around enjoy those as well.