Hadfield: NCAA tournament flawed, but fabulous

Just about anything can happen in the NCAA tournament -- like Florida Gulf Coast making it to the Sweet Sixteen.
Just about anything can happen in the NCAA tournament — like Florida Gulf Coast making it to the Sweet Sixteen.

There is so much wrong with the NCAA men’s basketball tournament.

The 35-second shot clock is ridiculous. A team could legitimately start milking the clock at the 10 minute mark of the second half to secure a victory (frankly, I’m not sure why more teams don’t practice this). The 3-point line is far too close, keeping terrible teams a shooting barrage away from contention. And the games – man, the games – are sloppy, ill-conceived manifestations of The Beautiful Game. Players don’t value possession; can’t run offensive sets; and lack fundamentals. And that’s before we get into the NCAA itself – the hierarchical organization running the gig that oozes hypocrisy.

Despite all this, there is just as much to love about the tourney.

The fanaticism surrounding the tournament is infectious. The only sporting event that rivals March Madness’ hype is the World Cup, and that has more to do with the pageantry around a worldwide event than the games themselves. NCAA tournament games are ugly, but the stakes are always high and are rarely without drama. The World Cup can claim the stakes and skill level, but can’t touch the drama that unfolds during March Madness. And in the world of sports, Drama Is King. Write that down. And sure, the players have no idea what they’re doing, but there is something incredibly endearing about watching manic styles collide.

And that terrible entity I mentioned earlier presiding over March Madness? Luck, evidently, is on its side. By bumping up its age restriction, the NBA inadvertently created a world where traditional powerhouses only have cache in reputation, rather than in dominance. Programs are forced to reload rosters due to top-tier players bolting campus after their freshman season. That leaves the door open for Mid-Majors (if that term even has meaning anymore) who carry upperclassmen to consistently upset The Old Guard. It’s a win-win situation.

Let’s go back to the infectious component, because that’s the crucial piece to the March Madness puzzle. By nature, the sports world is an exclusionary environment. A team survives and advances and the rest are left watching from the sidelines. March Madness inverts that concept, morphing into an inclusionary environment that offers attraction for the middle man: Want something to root for? Here, fill out a bracket, get involved! Watch this group of undersized, overmatched college kids from Wichita State catch fire and upset Gonzaga!

Remember, in sports Drama Is King. We never know when the next Miracle On Ice or Tuck Rule game will be, but we do know, with unusual certainty, that March Madness will present something close. It’s telling that March Madness consistently leaves us shocked. I guess expecting the unexpected is easier said than done.

Follow Metro columnist Ryan Hadfield on Twitter @Hadfield__



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

NYPD: Stroller carrying 2-year-old rolls onto Queens subway…

A 2-year-old girl in a stroller rolled onto subway tracks in Queens on Monday morning, police said.

International

Pro arm wrestler calls himself real-life 'Hellboy'

You can call German arm-wrestler Matthias Schlitte "Hellboy."

Local

NY immigration groups to close over alleged fraud

Two of the largest non-profit immigration service groups in the United States will shut down after being accused of defrauding thousands of clients, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said…

Breaking: National

Tsarnaev pal Azamat Tazhayakov guilty in bombing obstruction…

Tazhayakov, a Kazakh exchange student, was the first of three of Tsarnaev's friends to be charged with interfering in authorities' investigation.

Entertainment

‘The Leftovers’ recap: Season 1, Episode 4, ‘B.J.…

Last week’s episode of “The Leftovers” was apparently a fluke, because this week’s episode returns to focusing on the Garveys and it is so boring.…

Movies

Interview: Luc Besson says 'Lucy' is very different…

Filmmaker Luc Besson talks about his new film "Lucy," how it's different than "Limitless" and his crazy first conversation with Egyptian actor Amr Waked.

Music

Weezer releases first new song since 2010

Weezer releases "Back to the Shack," their first new song in almost six years.

Movies

Benedict Cumberbatch plays a different kind of genius…

The man known worldwide for his portrayal of London's eccentric private detective Sherlock Holmes is trading his Belstaff coat for tweed this fall. Benedict Cumberbatch…

MLB

Yankees looking at trade for Cliff Lee, according…

Yankees looking at trade for Cliff Lee, according to report

NFL

Giants lineman Chris Snee to retire: Reports

The Giants report to training camp on Tuesday, but Chris Snee may not be there when they do.

NBA

Carmelo Anthony talks about his charity work in…

As he is used to doing every year, NBA All-Star Carmelo Anthony is going to visit Puerto Rico to do work for his foundation.

MLB

New Jersey's Todd Frazier becoming star for Reds

Over the past week, the image of a 12-year-old Todd Frazier standing side-by-side with Derek Jeter at Yankee Stadium in 1998, has been widely circulated.

Tech

RocketSkates let users roll with a motor

Los Angeles company Acton has raised funds on Kickstarter to roll out a nifty alternative – motor-powered "RocketSkates."

Tech

Knicks star Carmelo Anthony becomes a tech entrepreneur

He's been an All-Star, an Olympian, and a celebrity spokesperson. Now NBA player Carmelo Anthony is adding the position "tech entrepreneur" to his resume. Along…

Tech

Ulises 1 is the world's first singing satellite

A group of artists and engineers in Mexico have unveiled Ulises 1, the world's first opera-singing satellite.

Home

Wallscape on a budget

Skip the wallpaper and ombre an accent wall instead.