Mental health: NCAA Tournament field can drive you mad

I’ve heard a lot of squawking about the NCAA Tournament draw and how Kentucky should’ve been higher than a fourth seed, but it’s hard to have a beef with that, considering the Cats couldn’t win a conference game outside of Rupp Arena most of the season. That’s bound to have cost them.

If the NCAA really wanted to stick it to Kentucky and its fans, they’d order the networks to televise UK tournament games with the ceiling camera. But no official word on that, yet, so it could still happen.

I have  a bigger problem with where teams were placed. OK, one team, actually. Duke.

How is it that Duke gets to play its first game down the road in Charlotte, N.C.?

Duke fans will say it’s not a home game because it’s not at Cameron Indoor Stadium, the Blue Devils’ homecourt. No, it’s better than a home game since Cameron seats about 10,000 and Time Warner Arena in Charlotte holds about 19,000, so there will be far more Duke fans in attendance. I’m pretty sure they’ve got the gas money for travel.

It’s like the NCAA telling Duke, “Thank you for taking time away from your busy schedule of sitting on your high horse and playing in our little tournament. We’ll try not to inconvenience you too much by actually making you PLAY in the West Regional . We’ll just call it the West Regional, but you can stay in your home state, 1,500 miles away from the western part of the country.”

This isn’t the first time the NCAA has given a big hug to its favorite teams from Tobacco Road. Every year there’s a tournament round or two in North Carolina, and either North Carolina or Duke are sent there.

Imagine if the city of Louisville hosted  a tournament every year and Kentucky always got sent there. You wouldn’t hear the end of it from ESPN and CBS. But I don’t know that anybody took the NCAA to task over Duke’s placement.

As for the NCAA selection committee, I really don’t think it factored conference tournaments into the equation that much. Conference tournaments were created for one reason — to make money. The NCAA appears to be saying, “OK, go make your money, but we’re ignoring the whole mess until someone wins it, and then that team gets an automatic bid.”  

The conference tournaments may help a bubble team, if that team wins a couple of games, but other than that, I think the selection committee pretty much ignores it.

And while I’m ranting, “physicality” shouldn’t be a word. It’s stupid. But coaches and announcers beat it to death. They used to just say a guy was physical, but now he’s got “physicality.”

Also, can’t somebody just score like in the old days? Why do players “score the ball” now? As opposed to what, scoring a cheeseburger?


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