coldcat's wit

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Carson, you ignorant slut. Sorry, always wanted to start a point-counterpoint that way. After reading your alternative to my alternative to the dance, as well as your comments on my original post, there are some points I wish to make.

First, yes, my relegating the Big XII to mid-major status was entirely tongue-in-cheek. Texas has had TJ Ford and Kevin Durant in recent years, Kansas State has Mike Beasley, Baylor has been the feel-good story of this basketball season, and Texas Tech used to have this one coach who was kind of famous. So yes, Carson, the Big XII is a major conference, so you donít have to pull out attendance figures and the San Francisco Donís Final Four history.

Another point you bring up is that no one watches. Really? Your office may be atypical, since 40.3 million people saw Florida beat the Ohio State last year. 130 million watched the tournament overall. The big dance is bringing CBS a $545 million windfall this spring. Want to advertise on CBS the next couple weeks? Itís gonna cost you. In fact, it costs less for ad time during a bowl game.

So how about those attendance numbers? Well out in Anaheim they got 17,600 for the second round at the venue formerly known as the Pond, an arena with a listed capacity of 17,174. Michigan State played at the Pepsi Center in Denver, an arena that seats 19,309, in front of 19,299 people. Wow, ten whole empty seats. How does the NCAA stay in business? The empty house of the bunch was in Washington DC, where they put 18,400 people in a 20,173 seat arena, which is still 91% capacity. And all of it despite ridiculously high ticket prices.

As for studying, yes a football tournament would take longer than a basketball tournament, but it would also be conducted mostly during vacation. Come on, Carson, you were in college once upon a time. How many classes did you go to between mid-December and mid-January? OK, want more concrete data? Letís look at the two schools chosen to compete in the "national title game" in football this year, LSU and tOSU. At Louisiana State, Exam week was December 10-15. Spring semester began January 14. In Columbus exams were the week of December 3, and were over by Thursday. Classes did begin again January 3rd, so apparently missing classes to play football isnít much of an issue, since they did it anyway under this system.

You also claimed that basketball tourney games werenít exciting enough for you. Please see Duke-Belmont, Duke-West Virginia, Western Kentucky-Drake, San Diego-UConn, Stanford-Marquette, UCLA-Texas A&M, Texas-Miami (FL), and Davidson-Georgetown. And this has been a bit of a down year. And the fact is, some of these games are going to be remembered for years to come. You think folks in northwest Indiana still know the name Bryce Drew? Itís been ten years since he made that shot. These images have become iconic. Quick, tell me without looking it up who won the Champs Sports Bowl in 2001. Hell, who won it in 2007?

As for your take on the whole thing, my purpose was not so much to offer a "what-if" examining the basketball post season had the NCAA never opened the doors for a tournament. My purpose was to say, if some people think the BCS is so great for football, why isnít there a BCS in basketball. Your TCS gives semifinal slots to the top four teams at the conclusion of the conference tournaments. In other words, the equivalent of all four #1 seeds reaching the final four. How many times has this actually happened? Never, nada, not once. In the TCS, the national champion will be a team that in real life got a #1 seed. History tells us itís a crap shoot that one of these top four actually will win. Florida won as a 3 seed in 2006. Syracuse was a 3 seed in 2003. I especially love your link to the Jeff Fox article about Mid-majors not reaching the Final Four. He wrote that in 2006. Who reached the Final Four in 2006? George Mason. See, the funny thing is, when you give the little guys a chance to compete and a shot at winning, sometimes they will. But they need to have a chance. When did George Masonís shot at a national title end? When they lost in the national semifinal. Compare that to football. When did Boise Stateís shot at a national title end? When they joined the wrong conference more than a decade before.

You said you would name 14 of the Sweet 16 in your TCS. You got ten. Those you missed included Davidson, who you claimed had a weak RPI. In the world of the TCS (and the BCS for that matter) a team like Davidson doesnít get a shot. In the NCAAs they do. Sure, itís a long shot, but if they win four more games, they get the title.

Oh, and a minor point, but one I wanted to mention. It wasnít so much the NCAA out muscling the NIT back in the day. The trouble was where the NIT was played, Madison Square Garden, which was a haven for men who were, ahem, "connected." These men had easy access to players, which resulted in a major point shaving scandal which all but destroyed the New York City teams that were involved, and severely tarnished the NIT. This is the same scandal which Adolph Rupp claimed would not involve Kentucky because the players shaving points were "N*****s and Jews, neither of which is welcome at Kentucky," and then Kentucky was immediately suspended from the SEC for a season for shaving points. Who knows what would have happened had the five families not gotten involved, and very likely the NCAA would have won out over time anyway, but itís worth mentioning that they had help from events beyond their control.

So we gots our own little dialogue going here. You think the boys over at Slate will be jealous?

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