Stop The MadnessMarch 17, 2016
By Scott Broberg, SVP Amplification
I’m officially a curmudgeon. I used to love the NCAA Basketball Tournament, but I’ve become increasingly annoyed by it in recent years. You can have too much of a good thing, and this year we hit that tipping point long before the games tipped off.
It started Sunday evening with a two-hour selection show. I’d be willing to tolerate 15 minutes dedicated to revealing the teams and 15 minutes of analysis. I was glued to this show every year when I was a kid. I would watch it live and add all the teams to a homemade bracket I created. Now we have the Internet. There’s no need to tune in at all, so dragging it out is absurd.
Then there’s the debate about the teams who were snubbed from the Big Dance. The NCAA has already expanded the tournament from 64 to 68 teams. Do we really believe a squad that was left out of the top 68 deserves a chance to win the thing? Let’s end the outrage.
Sadly, I couldn’t avoid people talking about their brackets everywhere I turned Sunday night and Monday morning. ESPN actually began SportsCenter by having Jay Bilas fill out his entire bracket live on the air. And my morning sports talk radio was filled with experts and amateurs offering up their upset selections and Final Four locks. I probably should’ve paid attention because I haven’t watched enough basketball to make any credible picks of my own. But I just can’t bring myself to listen to some talking head ramble on about the backcourt play in the Iowa State vs Iona game.
Then there are the same tired media angles that get dusted off every year:
- The “lost productivity” story. By the way, I don’t believe more technology has anything to do with lost productivity around the tournament. People are just replacing their usual online work distractions with basketball for a couple days.
- The “odds of completing a perfect bracket” story. Hey, it’s still 1 in 9.2 quintillion.
- The “guys who schedule a vasectomy so they can stay home and watch the tournament” story. This was clever when I first wrote about it in 2009.
- The “presidential bracket” story. I’m looking forward to what Hillary or Trump have to say about the No. 5 vs No. 12 matchups next March.
Not only has the quality of play in college basketball declined in recent years, so has the ability of the media to come up with a fresh story angle.
And with all that said, I’m going to end my rant so I have time to enter the office pool. Why? Because life is more interesting with money on the line. Good luck with your brackets, folks!