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
National

OkCupid admits to Facebook-style experimenting on customers

By Sarah McBrideSAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - OkCupid, a top U.S. matchmaking website, intentionally mismatched users to test its technology, the IAC/InterActive Corp service said on…

Local

MTA fares still increasing 4 percent in newly…

The agency said the 4 percent increases, previously announced in December, will remain steady even as the MTA deals with increasing labor costs.

Local

De Blasio, Bratton defend city's efforts after Eric…

Mayor Bill de Blasio justified the city's response to the death of Eric Garner, a Staten Island man who died while in police custody earlier this month.

National

PHOTO: New Zealand Heral uses wrong image to…

The New Zealand Herald made a terrible mistake of using the wrong image to illustrate the tragic death of Staff Sergeant Guy Boyland – a New Zealand-born Israeli soldier who…

Movies

Interview: Brendan Gleeson on the way 'Calvary' depicts…

Brendan Gleeson talks about how his new film "Calvary" began over drinks and how his character here is the opposite of the lead in "The Guard."

Movies

'Get on Up' producer Mick Jagger on the…

Mick Jagger, a producer on the James Brown biopic "Get on Up," talks about the time had to tell the singer some bad news and his favorite JB record.

Television

'Glee' star Lea Michele to appear on 'Sons…

"Glee" star Lea Michele has been confirmed as a guest star in the final season of "Sons of Anarchy."

Television

TV watch list, Monday, July 28: 'The Bachelorette'…

See Andi Dorfman make her big choice on tonight's 'Bachelorette' finale.

NFL

Larry Donnell has inside track in Giants tight…

Little-known Larry Donnell of Grambling State currently has the inside track, as the second-year player has received the bulk of the first-team reps.

NFL

Computer to Jets: Start Michael Vick over Geno…

Jets general manager John Idzik says the choice of who starts between second-year quarterback Geno Smith and veteran Michael Vick will be a “Jets decision.”

MLB

Yankees looking to trade for Josh Willingham: Report

CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reported Sunday the Yankees are interested in Twins outfielder Josh Willingham.

MLB

Joe Torre: I'm in Hall of Fame because…

Joe Torre spent 18 years putting together a near Hall of Fame career as a player. But it was the 12 years he spent as…

Travel

Glasgow: Hey, hey, the gangs aren't here

This European city has done a good job getting rid of its more violent residents and revitalizing with artists.

Education

Babson College tops list of best colleges for…

Money magazine has just released its inaugural list of "The Best Colleges for Your Money" -- and the answers have surprised many. Babson College, which…

Education

NYC teens learn how to develop apps during…

Through a program sponsored by CampInteractive, the high schoolers designed their own community-focused apps.

Tech

The Ministry of Silly Walks app is both…

Monty Python have dug into their back catalogue for cash-ins once more, but with the Ministry of Silly Walks app, they've made something that's fun too.