People want to know how to "fix" college basketball. While March is still "madness", there's plenty about the system preventing many people from caring about it for more than a month, if that.
At this point, there's nothing really left to fix. This isn't your father's college game anymore. Coaches are swapped out every year, players are gone before you know their name, impenetrable programs like Duke are losing in the first round of the tournament, and there's a drug or cheating scandal at every turn. It's changing with the times. And I find the college game very useless to follow anymore.
Early entry to the NBA gets most of the blame for the watered-down, lackluster college game these days. Many star players fall into the "one-and-done" category. The NBA won't take them straight from high school, so they go to a top college program for a year.
That's the system. It certainly isn't perfect but you can't force a kid to stay in college, especially if there's an employer out there willing to sign him to a multi-million dollar contract after only a year of "school."
It's baffling to think back in Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's playing days, (aka Lew Alcinder, at the time) freshman couldn't play varsity college basketball! What a ridiculous notion. That's how far the game, and the players, have come since 1960.
Years ago, players stayed in college for at least three years. You could see programs and players develop.
Michael Jordan, Charles Barkley, Patrick Ewing and Shaquille O'Neal all played college basketball for three years, to name a few, and the NCAA benefited greatly.
Looking back on Shaq's career, there's no doubt he could have dominated the NBA after one year of college. If there ever was an early-entry candidate, it was Shaq. It just didn't happen back then. Now if you have an "NBA body" and any kind of talent, you get drafted by the NBA after your freshman year and spend most of the next few years riding the pine.
Duke was embarrassed this year in the tourney after losing to Lehigh as a No. 2 seed in the first round. They were simply a victim of early entry. If Duke had Kyrie Irving still on the team, who's tearing up NBA defenders with the Cavs this year, they probably win the title.
This year's Kentucky team is being ranked high on the list of talented and great teams, with four freshman. John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins could still be on the team. Can you imagine that? I'd be watching a lot more college basketball if all those players were playing.
Instead, they're in the NBA, so that's what I'm watching. People can say what they want about the NBA game (usually it's misinformed and wrong) but no one can doubt it's home to the greatest basketball players in the world.
And just to bring it up, the NBA prospect doesn't care about "the free education" he's getting with a scholarship. He can cover four years tuition with about two paychecks in the NBA. You can always go back to school.
If you're any good in college, you take a chance on getting into the league. It doesn't matter if you're "ready" or not. College sophomore or NBA reserve? The choice seems to be clear. And the college game is example No. 1.