This year's Tournament is only halfway interesting

The NCAA Tournament begins today, at least the men's portion does, and I'm probably the least interested that I've ever been in the bracket.

Again, at least the men's side.

With the Oregon men's team pretty much making next season far more interesting than this one due to recruiting, and playing only into the NIT, and Oregon State just in the background of the conference, the local need to pay attention went away in the past month. And, that's

Then, there's the national scene that went haywire, which I'll get to later.

Oregon's women, and the Beavers, too, helped save some my attention for college hoop, but sports fans on the national level still aren't ready for women's basketball other than on cable television. The Ducks are going to be televised, but only at a neighboring restaurant that pays for the most expanded cable package available.

Oregon State, too.

One of the key issues in college men's basketball this season has been all the scandals involving the biggest programs. North Carolina, Louisvill, Arizona. And, there's the issue of whether high school players should be able to return to simply bypassing college altogher and go to the NBA.

And, there's Lavar Ball and European basketball. In covering high school games, I've taken to asking players being recruited by Div. I colleges if they'd consider heading to Europe if a two-year contract worth more than $100,000 per season were offered them by a team in Greece. Would they sign that? So far, the answer has been "no - my education comes first," but, perhaps, only because that thought never came up before. When asked a second time, and the amount of money being stressed further, the answer came back as, "I'd have to talk to my parents," for both the players I talked with.

The high school season really captivated my interest in the game, but it's over.

If you have a television in your house, and who doesn't, you can't miss the men's tournament, and it is fun to await the crazy upsets that happen today and tomorrow. I picked the Pac-12 teams to advance at least to their region finals in my online bracket, but two of the three teams already lost their play-in games. Thanks UCLA and Arizona State.

Hopefully, the Ducks will blow out their first two opponents this weekend in the women's tournament.

Probably the most interest I'll have this weekend is in Knoxville, Tenn., where Oregon State got sent with a sixth seed. I might even follow their game Sunday against Tennessee - if it happens - online, to pull for the Beavers giving a big middle finger to the NCAA selection committee for making them a six seed despite being ranked 13th.

The NCAA doesn't seem to think much of Corvallis, so this is a great year for Oregon State to make a playoff run like the Ducks did last year as a 10-seed reaching the Elite Eight.

I'm a fan of the underdog, so Oregon State might actually be the team I'm pulling for most, at least this weekend.

 

Comments