The 2016 NCAA Final Four got underway on Saturday night in Houston and I wasn’t even that interested to watch. This might surprise a few as I’m one of college basketball’s biggest fans north of the border. I’m part of the minority that follows the college game throughout the year, but for me the Final Four has just never gotten me excited.
For one, most years the teams that make the Final Four are the teams I watch every second of the day in the regular season. It gets to the point where I don’t have to see North Carolina play for the 25th time. College Basketball is exciting because of how crazy college basketball fans can be during home games like in Chapel Hill. I get that. But when the Tar Heels reach the Final Four (like this year) to me it takes the fun out of the event, considering that UNC has been made the Final Four the most out of any programs in the country, making their 19th appearance this year.
More importantly, one of my biggest pet peeves about the Final Four is that it’s played in a 60,000 plus football stadium each year. I know why they do it, it’s about money. Let’s face it, money buys almost anything in the sports world today. However, playing in a football stadium makes it look extremely awkward to watch on TV and can be unfair to the players as it becomes a physiological distraction, leaving the players to adjust to the new unique setting.
According to KenPom, in 24 of the 32 performances in the dome — a team shot worse than its season average from three. In eight of those 32 games — a team would have hit at least two more threes if they had merely shot their season average. This speaks volumes to how horrific team’s shoot in these large-scale arenas.
Also, for me there is not much motivation to watch because it seems almost every that my bracket becomes busted at the turn of March. This may seem like a weak reason, because at this point every bracket is basically in shambles. To continue, a lot of the players that are participating will be playing in the NBA sooner than later. Therefore, they will be suiting up for an NBA team before the next college basketball season starts. In fact, if I really wanted to watch them play I could just tune in to the summer league games this July in Vegas. A huge part of what makes college basketball fun is that sometimes players lay it all on the line every night. For some of them, it could be their last organized basketball game of their career.
Lastly, why isn’t the Final Four on CBS anymore? The tournament should live and die on CBS. The theme song, the old score box, CBS had when I was a child. When Turner Sports (TBS) purchased the rights to March Madness in 2010, they’ve changed the NCAA Tournament format completely. Since TBS became a national channel a few years ago, Canada hasn’t received coverage of it and therefore no games, no major broadcasts. Instead, Canada gets stuck with the games on TSN, where the knowledge of college basketball isn’t as strong with broadcasters such as Jack Armstrong, former coach at Niagara University in the early 90’s and Michigan State Spartan Alum Mo Peterson.
All of this and a few other reasons, is why I try to avoid watching the Final Four. Tonight, Villanova will play North Carolina in the National Championship. I’m pulling for Nova because I believe Jay Wright is a very underrated coach, he’s fallen down many times in past tournaments. And those prior setbacks has built himself and his team up.