Who Took the Baskets Out of College Basketball?

I have to agree with you, Hampton. The one-and-done nature of college hoops today means that teams have two choices: build a new roster every year but focus on blue-chip talent (let's call this the Kentucky model) or recruit mid-level players who will stay four years and be formed into a cohesive, if less talented, unit (the Bo Ryan model up at Wisconsin). Either way, offense is going to suffer.

You know what, though? That's fine with me. I was raised on the New York Knicks of the mid-1990s, whose idea of perfection was winning 70-65. I went to college in the Big Ten, that bastion of 45-44 games that manage to be insanely compelling to watch even though neither team makes a field goal in the final seven minutes. You wanna talk about unforgettable Final Four games? Try Michigan State-Wisconsin in 2000, where the final score was 53-41.

I'm sure this view puts me in the minority of basketball fans, who would rather see Doug McDermott score 50 than watch Nerlans Noel rack up 12 blocked shots. To the offensive majority, I would say that teams always gel later in the season (and in case you missed it, Duke beat N.C. State 98-85 in regulation on Thursday, so it's safe to say offense is at least alive and well in the ACC). But I wouldn't attribute all of the scoring woes this season to bad offense. Watch Syracuse execute Jim Boeheim's 2-3 zone to perfection, or tune into any Kentucky game down the stretch and witness Noel either block or alter every shot within 10 feet of the basket. There's some pretty good defense being played in college basketball that shouldn't be overlooked.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to re-watch my Northwestern Wildcats' 55-48 upset win over Minnesota from earlier this season. Somehow I don't think I'll mind the lack of offense.

–Jake

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Sports Roundtable

Patrick Hruby, Jake Simpson, and Hampton Stevens 

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