College sports are some the toughest to try and gain ratings from the general public for multiple reasons. For one thing, it is difficult to pick a favorite college team unless you attend a certain college. On top of that, it is tough to commit to a certain favorite team when you cannot guarantee that they will be successful for awhile. It’s much easier to attach to a professional team than a college team. This is why a sport like college basketball needs to rely on the excitement of its games, as well as its advertisements to keep ratings up.
College basketball has always been one of the more popular college sports since the 1980s. During that time period, basketball was booming, not only in college, but also in the NBA. Television ratings were sky high especially when the Big East conference was at its best. Guys like Patrick Ewing, Michael Jordan, and Clyde Drexler were all guys that people were excited to watch. As a result, games like Georgetown versus North Carolina were must watch games.
That really isn’t the case anymore these days. After discussing this subject with some of the public, college fans are just not as intrigued with the players that get recruited in today’s college basketball landscape. Part of the problem is highly regarded players are leaving college for the NBA after one year. This makes it difficult to put the effort in to follow a certain player, and grow a respect for that player’s talent.
Although the viewership for programs like the March Madness Selection Show has gone down around 20 percent in the past couple of years, the NCAA has actually made valiant efforts in creating a more exciting landscape for each game that appears on national television.
One of the biggest issues with the games themselves was, the shot clock. Having thirty five seconds to shoot was way too much time for teams. It made the games much less exciting because too many coaches would have their offenses wait until the last possible second to shoot. This creates a more stagnant offense, and the players don’t really develop well enough to even be considered a pro. The NBA is so much faster than college, so amateur players need to have the opportunity to learn that.
However, college basketball thankfully lowered the shot clock to thirty seconds last year which created more efficient offenses, and higher scoring games. The NCAA is also trying to make a competent effort in changing the way fouls are called. It feels like the referees have too much of an effect of the outcome of the game especially come March Madness. We saw some improvement last year, where a lot of the games were decided on last second shots rather than on a certain call.
The National Championship between Villanova and North Carolina last April was one for the record books. The game came down to a tying three by North Carolina’s Marcus Paige, and then a winning buzzer beater three by Villanova’s Kris Jenkins. The game itself was well played as well which was nice to see for the sport. It was a large step in the right direction for the NCAAM.
College basketball also has the idea of any team could win going for them as well. March Madness will still be one of the most popular tournaments in sports history, which is why I’m glad that college football is trying to take that one game and done route as well. As long as the level of good play can go up, college basketball will not die.
With a freshmen class that people are saying is one for the ages, and the fact that there is no clear favorite, people should be excited for the revival of college basketball in the year of 2016-2017.