Saturday, March 29, 2014

How to Kill a Sport

There were four close games in the NCAA Tournament last night. They should have been exciting. Unless you were an alumnus or gambler, they all ended with a whimper, not a bang. An endless whimper.

The final minute of game clock time of all four games added up to one hour and five seconds of real time. None took less than 12 minutes. Tennessee and Michigan took 18 and change to run off 60 seconds. As a result, the two late games didn't end until past midnight EDT.

For action, I'll stay up late. To watch officials having very bad nights huddle around the replay monitor and coaches exercising their mighty brains while their players stare blankly in time outs, I won't. Greed is why tournament games contain commercial breaks every time play gets interesting. College basketball's own rules and habits are why four minutes became an hour.

Here's some modest rule changes. Once there are two minutes to play in the second half, each team has no more than two time outs. Once it hits one minute, they have one.  Replay is returned to its original purpose only,  determining if buzzer-beating baskets did in fact do so or not.

It's either that, or forbid coaches from entering the arena on game nights.


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