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Not the Usual March Madness

Chris Steppig/Getty Images

Despite what CBS and others will tell you March Madness is not as mad, exciting or popular as it used to be.

My own survey of myself and a few others tells me that most of us don’t have nearly the interest we used to in the tournament that spans three weeks from Selection Sunday to Championship Monday. The main reason is that in this “one and done” era you don’t get to know the players and teams all that well as they come and go.

Kentucky, clearly the best team in the country, won their 8th National Title last night with a 67-59 win over Kansas in a game I had trouble staying awake for.

There was little drama as the Wildcats led by double figures throughout most of the evening, although Kansas made a late run which did make things interesting for a moment or two. I was fast asleep on the couch by the time Jim Nantz said goodbye and CBS closed the show and tournament with its “One Shining Moment” tribute.

As good as this Kentucky team is, and they are very good, it’s hard to imagine how much better that might be next year and in the future as they started three freshman and two sophomores. But for some of them college was like a brief tenure in the minor leagues and they’ll be headed for the NBA Draft in June.

Of course Kentucky coach John Calipari will be out on the recruiting circuit later this week seeking more thoroughbreds for Lexington who can take a few classes, get a small taste of what college is supposed to be about, play about 40 games and then turn pro.

It’s the system which, frankly, is lousy.

While I totally understand many of these players need the money that comes with pro basketball “one and done” just does not work. At the very least, basketball should adopt what exists in baseball whereby you can sign out of high school but once you begin college you can’t get drafted until after your junior year.

At least that would insure that to some extent everyone would be a student-athlete….not an athlete-students.

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