College Basketball’s Regular Season: Who Cares


Can you name these stars on Top Ten teams?

No. 1 Florida loses to Vanderbilt!!!

Who cares.

No. 2 Wisconsin loses to Michigan State!!

Who cares.

No. 3 UCLA loses to West Virginia!!!

Did I mention, Who cares?

None of this is meant to disparage college hoops. It’s a great game with great fans, and, no matter what Bobby Knight says, its ills have nothing to with whether a few young men decide to spend only one year on a college campus before taking their game to the NBA.

The game’s troubles are somewhat more ironic. In essence, college basketball is a victim of its own success. More specifically, the success of its post-season tournament – known to all but aliens and the Geico cavemen as March Madness. The tournament is so successful, so all-encompassing, such an event(!) it has rendered the regular season irrelevant.

Who’s No. 1? Does it matter? Not one iota. The NCAA Tournament is all that matters in college basketball and for most teams qualifying for the tournament is a fait acompli. My nine-year-old daughter could have penciled in about 40 of the 65 teams that will be invited to The Dance. For those teams, the regular season is essentially one long “pre-season” in which they hone themselves for the month-long run for the national title. For the others, the season is a long qualifying tournament.

(College basketball stands in sharp contrast to college football, which isn’t perfect either. In that sport, the regular season matters TOO much. Lose a game in September and you’ve essentially lost your chance at a national title – unless you’re USC or some other team that is perennially voted into the top ten.)

The season only matters to those fans with a specific rooting interest. And even then the only thing that matters is whether your team is doing well enough to qualify for the NCAAs. My Stanford crew, for instance, only looks at each Cardinal win (or loss) as how it relates to “the bubble.” Those in hoop hot beds are reveling in their rivalries as always. But national fans no longer care whether Duke beats North Carolina, or what not. It just ain’t on the radar.

Even the best teams in the nation are anonymous. Texas’ Kevin Durrant and Greg Oden of Ohio State are college basketball’s transcendent stars. Turn to your neighbor and ask them to name more than one player from No. 1 Wisconsin, No. 4 UCLA, No 7 Memphis, No. 8 Texas A&M or No. 9 Washington State. Go ahead and let me know how they fared.

Who’s to blame? No one in particular. Blame the NBA. Blame the almighty dollar. Blame the media, for all I care. No matter. The bottom line is that the college basketball seasons starts in March, and not a moment sooner.


11 thoughts on “College Basketball’s Regular Season: Who Cares

  1. Juan says:


    Love ya, but I have to disagree with you here.

    College hoops is hot. I know tons of dudes that follow college hoops religiously for either (1) entertainment or (2) gaming purposes.

    Certainly, the regular season is a prelim to the Big Dance. But same can be said of most major sports.

    PS…. the players on those photos.
    Tre’Von Williams-Memphis
    Alando Tucker-Wisconsin
    Acie Law IV-Texas A&M

    I can give you the WI and UCLA starting five no problem.

    Stanford guys are nerds. Generally a bad group to get a sample from.

    They’re too busy fighting over who gets to be the Head Dungeonmaster/Priestess in their Dungeons and Dragons game and trying to shake that pesky virginity that has stayed with them for about 40 years to be paying attention to college hoops.

    Just kidding (kind of)

  2. ollie says:

    And this is an exiting time for fans in Central Illinois as well. Bradley (sweet 16 last year) helped their NCAA chances with an exciting win over Virginia Commonwealth last Saturday, only to get drummed at home by Northern Iowa a couple of nights ago.

    We went from “NCAA bubble” to HeLLLLOOOO, NIT!!! within a couple of days. 😉

    Also, Illinois is scrapping for an NCAA bid..

  3. wyclefdoug says:

    Really, other than college football as you mentioned, no regular season matters unless you are on the bottom end of the playoff pool fighting to get in.

    But hey, I still have fun with it. In fact, I’ve been watching more college bball this season than in past years. Especially the mid-majors. I’ve seen multiple CAA games in person, including one with VCU.

    This weekend, I’ll be at the Pitt vs GTown battle in DC, and the next day I’ll be in College Park for the Maryland vs UNC game. Those games might not be all or nothing like in March, but they’re still fun to watch.

  4. I LOVE college basketball b/c of the NCAA Tourney. You’re right, the regular season doesn’t matter. If you can get an NCAA bid, the skys the limit. The number 1 team can lose in the first round and….seasons over! But hey, I’m a fan of SEC athletics (for biased reasons) SO…go Gators!

  5. Brian says:

    @ Juan….

    Stanford, bunch of nerds? I think thats more of their football team. The Lopez Twins are decent prospects, definetly looking better than the Collin Twins.

    and Roy is right, NCAA season does start in March. All the rankings are BS. Who really is No. 1?

  6. Juan says:

    I’m talking about the Stanford student body. NERDS.

    Um… the cheerleaders (aka the Dollys) , they’re the bottom end of the curve in cheerleader attractiveness. They might set the curve in class, but they are what makes the top half possible in looks.

    I’m still looking for the one attractive female at Stanford. Let me know when you find her.

    I’m a Cal guy, so (1) I’m supposed to talk like this, and (2) we at Cal did not have much better looking girls, but we had at least some. Stanford had nothing.

  7. mylosh says:

    in all honesty only reason I’m watching college ball in the regular season is because of Kevin Durrant and Greg Oden. I was at first against the age limit, but man I wouldve loved to have seen guys like Monta Ellis or Shawn Livingston play at least one year

    oh by the way, I wish illinois fans would shut up about losing their mascot, stop crying

  8. SJH says:

    I don’t watch college basketball. I like basketball, but I can’t get up for it. Maybe it’s the lack of a rooting interest, I don’t know. But when I flip to ESPN and it’s on, I change the channel as fast as I do when World Series Poker is on.

    I might watch the championship game, but I don’t even get up for March Madness or the Final Four.

  9. Ryan McCord says:

    Professor Roy,

    Couldn’t agree with you more. Enough college hoops already. I didn’t even watch my first game beginning-to-end until last night’s Syracuse vs. Georgetown contest. I remember when ESPN’s “Big Monday” was something to look forward to every week after football season. Now every night is tagged “Big, Terrific, Wild, ACC, Super, or Supercalafradulisticespialodocous.” I heard between ESPN and ESPNXLII that over 3,000 games are televised throughout the season. The success in popularity generated from the tournament-which IS the most exciting three weeks in sports-is undeniably at fault for a watered-down coverage of the regular season and the unfortunate brink of extinction for the NHL.

  10. dylan says:

    Hey u loser this is he best tournament of the year the march madness

  11. dylan says:

    ID care about the NHL no one does

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