Why NCAA basketball has become a drag

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06:43 AM November 2nd, 2013

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By: Mervin Fernando, November 2nd, 2013 06:43 AM

ILLUSTRATION BY GIAN CARLO CLARETE

Longer isn’t always better.  It may be a drag, like very long movies.

In collegiate basketball, is a longer season better? Is the National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA), with a longer season, better than the University Athletics Association of the Philippines (UAAP)?

Not necessarily. The NCAA, with more schools (10 as against UAAP’s eight), has obviously a longer season, which may explain why its basketball season drags.

The American NCAA has more schools and more divisions in basketball. But its season doesn’t drag despite its understandable length.

There must be something in basketball that holds the interest of sports lovers.

First and foremost, basketball fans are attracted to talent, exciting plays, winning streaks, title runs and underdog stories. This is probably the reason people are glued to the American NBA season.

Collegiate basketball here is obviously not as great as American NCAA.

Talent-wise, the UAAP has more talents than the NCAA.

The NCAA has only a few talented teams. Exciting and replay-worthy plays, winning streaks and title runs are the results of talent. And let’s not forget hard work. Take the National University. An underdog for many years, it placed first in the elimination round.

In the NCAA, there’s no such story; those in the bottom stay at the bottom.

Second is marketing. The UAAP has more advertisers than the NCAA. Moreover, UAAP games were played in big venues, such as Smart Araneta Coliseum and MOA Arena. In contrast, NCAA had exclusive venues only for its opening games and ceremonies. All other games were played at the San Juan Arena.

The NCAA should really shorten its season.

The UAAP basketball season is over; the PBA is also about to wrap things up. But, surprisingly, the NCAA is still in the elimination stages.

One can blame it on the rains, on the cancellations, on the leaking roof of the venue or even on the host; whatever or whoever it may be, the NCAA season has been dragging and boring.

Don’t get me wrong. I am a fan of both the NCAA and UAAP, which I’ve been watching for 12 years. But as a fan, I am saddened by the disparity in the quality of the play of the two leagues. The NCAA has become quite predictable while the UAAP has evolved into something unpredictable and exciting.

Most people don’t even know where the NCAA is televised. And the longer season favors only the gamblers betting on odds. So NCAA should cut and cut clean.

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