We're in the middle of March Madness. Me? I'm wading through the NCAA Tournament just to get to the NBA playoffs. That's because as good and as dramatic and as passionate as college basketball is, it's not as good as the NBA. Here are five reasons why the NBA is better than college basketball.
1 The NBA has a truer champion. Upsets in college hoops are fun and all, but does a one-and-done tournament really end with the best team or even one of the best teams winning it all? You can't tell me Georgetown or Vanderbilt or UConn are not among the top 16 or so teams in the country. But already, they're out of the NCAA Tournament. All it takes is one bad game, one little ankle sprain, one player getting into foul trouble in a two-minute span, one bad call. That literally can cost a better team a game and, ultimately, a championship. In the NBA, a bad team can beat a good team on any given day, but the better team is going to win four out of seven. By the end of the NBA playoffs, you have a champion that is truly the most deserving champion.
2 The NBA has better players. This is the most obvious reason, really. Almost every player you see in the NCAA Tournament — we're talking 90-some percent — is not even good enough to ride the bench in the NBA. The better the player, the more I want to see him. And don't try that tired argument that college basketball is a team game and the NBA is 10 guys playing one-on-one. If that's your argument then you either haven't watched the NBA in a while or you don't know basketball at all.
3 College basketball has changed. The best players play one, maybe two years then jump to the NBA. College basketball simply has too much turnover and the players are hard to follow. Because of it, dynasties have gone away and, really, dynasties are what make sports great. Parity has overtaken college basketball because teams like Duke and North Carolina have to reload every year or every other year, while so-called Cinderellas like Davidson and Western Kentucky are together for four years because their players don't leave in droves for the NBA. Parity might be fun, but fun doesn't mean better.
4 The NBA's sourpuss is Charles Barkley, but at least he's funny. College basketball's sourpuss is Billy Packer, and he just seems like the angry old man next door who yells at the neighbor kids to get off his lawn.
5 If skipping college ball and going straight to the NBA is good enough for LeBron James, right, then it's good enough for me.
of the day
If Major League Baseball is trying to grow the game globally, that's fine. Play in Japan. Play in Mexico. Play in England. Play in Antarctica. But one thing: The games should not count. This Boston-Oakland series in Japan should not count in the standings. Sending teams that far to play real games and then bringing them home dog-tired to start a long season just isn't fair to the teams participating.
Besides, can't a couple of exhibitions in early March serve the same purpose of growing the game?
Most disappointing team
Indiana had a rough go of it in men's basketball, considering its coach was busted for cheating and resigned late in the season. Still, this was a good team. The Hoosiers spent just about all season in the Top 25. Got to No. 7 at one point. How about sucking it up and fighting through some adversity? Instead, they folded like a discount lawn chair. Indiana lost two of its final three regular-season games, lost its Big Ten tournament opener to Minnesota then was blown out by Arkansas in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
of the day
0 Brackets, out of 3.65-million, that correctly picked all 32 games in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on ESPN.com's pool.
of the day
Check out this so called "big prediction'' from ESPN's Nate Ravitz during the network's Baseball Tonight Fantasy Special: "James Shields of the Rays will win more games this season than any pitcher on the Yankees or Red Sox.''
Ravitz pointed out that no one in the American League had more quality starts last season than Shields, below, and Boston's Josh Beckett.
Check it out
ESPN likes to go overboard on the NFL draft and it's in the midst of running "On the Clock'' features on SportsCenter, picking a team each day to feature. Draftnik Mel Kiper, analysts Ron Jaworski and Chris Mortensen and host Mike Tirico take a few minutes to go over the featured team's draft needs and desires. The Bucs will be featured on Thursday's SportsCenter.
Race of the day
As of Tuesday afternoon, with 93 percent of the NHL's regular season having been played, only three of the 16 playoffs spots had been secured and 23 of the 30 teams were either in the playoff pack or within six points of the playoffs.
of the day
Former NHL goalie Patrick Roy and his son, Jonathan, have been suspended by the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League after a big brawl over the weekend in a playoff game. Jonathan, the goalie of the Quebec Remparts, was suspended for seven games for instigating a fight with the other team's goalie, while Patrick, the head coach, was suspended for five games. Patrick denied gesturing for his son to go after the team's other goalie as fights were breaking out all over the ice, but video suggested otherwise. Jonathan issued the usual "I was wrong, I won't do it again'' statement through the team. Want to see it? Go to blogs.tampabay.com/twocents.
Best college coach
I'm not sure who the best coach is in the country, but I do know there is not a better-dressed coach in the country than Villanova's Jay Wright, below. Ironic considering old Villanova basketball coach Rollie Massimino might have been the worst-dressed coach in the history of college basketball.
Sad injury of the day
By sad, I mean pathetic. Ever see that show on Spike called Pros vs. Joes? A bunch of never-been amateurs compete in sporting events against a bunch of ex-jocks trying to relive their glory days. Well, all former NBA player Derrick Coleman had to do was box out a couple of Joes (one at a time) on 10 rebounds. After holding the first Joe to just two rebounds, Coleman went up against a salesman from Philadelphia, landed awkwardly, injured his knee and had to sit out the rest of show.
Somewhere, a 76ers fan is either laughing or cursing.