Jaquandor admits that he doesn't have the "the chops" to argue against some NBA zealot who hates the tournament. Well, I've already taken apart Newsweek's feeble argument; let's see what we can do with Matthew Yglesias'. (Note, that I tend to disagree with a lot of what Matthew says, anyway, but this should be pleasurable.) So, let's just take it apart piece by piece:
    My favorite sport -- basketball -- is still in full swing but, at the same time, mercilessly pushed out of public view in favor of the NCAA Tournament. College ball is, simply put, basketball played badly, and America's obsession with that game's absurd method of determining a national champion is the true madness.
Right off the bat we can tell two things about Matthew. One -- he is an NBA fan. Two -- he is bitter about his sport not being shown on TV enough. Starting off your article by crying is hardly a good way to write an opinion piece, so we'll assume his intent is not to sway in argument, but to rant. Still, let's examine some of his key points.
    Even if you're not a basketball fan, you probably see some of the tournament games. Thanks to the ubiquitous office pools, the tournament is broadcast constantly -- everywhere -- for a few mercifully brief months.
Oops, already getting his facts wrong. The tournament lasts a little over three weeks, not months, and that's including the selection show. Of that, there are 10 total days where the tournament is shown, and only on one station, CBS. (Unless you get the sports package to watch all the games, which I doubt Yglesias has done.) So, unless Yglesias is a bar hound or a fan of some CBS evening show, I'm not sure how he is being surrounded by these constant broadcasts, unless he's receiving alien transmission. And, you know what? On every one of those days, not one of the regularly scheduled NBA matchups on NBC or TNT were pre-empted. Yep, still bitter. But, quickly, Matt gets to the crux of his 'argument':
    In all college sports, the athletes are, naturally, not up to the standard of their professional peers... Indeed, until the NBA changed its rules last off-season, it was by no means uncommon for the very best players to turn pro straight out of high school... Thus, many of America's brightest basketball stars, including at least three of the top five players in the world... never graced the floors of college competition at all. Other top talents ... graduate early. And yet another set of superstars ... don't play college ball because they're foreigners and cut their teeth in the pro leagues of Europe, Asia, or even Latin America.
Okay, so the NBA has better talent than the entire NCAA combined. One would suspect that's why they are paid. No one is going to debate that. But what does this mean?
    This has two consequences for the college game. One is simply to deprive it of talent. College football isn't up to the NFL level, but the Bowl Championship Series really does offer the best 18- to 22-year-old players in the world.
Okay, I have to stop right here to mock anyone who is comparing the BCS to March Madness, which I did at length here. Insanity points climbing. However, let'sanalyzee his point. The NBA is depriving the NCAA of talent. And? Although I watch games for the intensity, the competition, the upsets, and the school pride, has anyone ever really complained that Kevin Garnett didn't go to Duke?
    The other, more insidious problem is that in college, as in elsewhere, experience matters. Seniors have an advantage over sophomores -- they've had more time to learn the game, their teammates, and the coach's system. As a result, the savviest college hoops programs don't actually want to recruit the very best young players available. A top talent will come to your school, play for a year or two to show off his stuff, and then move on to bigger and better things.
I guess Matthew didn't see freshman Carmelo Anthony lead his Syracuse squad to a championship in 2002 and then go to the NBA. Think Jim Boehiem is less savvy for recruiting him. There have been many articles and conversations written about how the NCAA recruiting game has changed because of the premature (in many cases) entry of kids to the NBA. The days of having most of your players stay 3 and 4 years are gone, at least if they are good. Coaches adapt and survive. But this has had an inadvertently good effect on the NCAA system: Parity.

The high profile programs will always get the blue-chip players, but now they are staying less time, and are less experienced going into the tournament. The mid-majors, on the other hands, are usually flush with seniors if they get a chance to go to the dance. What happens? You get a lot of upsets, matching up the younger kids against the upper-classmen. We have three cinderella teams in the Sweet Sixteen this year, and at least one will make the Elite Eight. There is a trade off between experience and talent, and that creates parity in the league, maybe moreso than ever. What that, in turn, creates is no free rides, no gimmee games, and a helluva lot of drama in every single tournament game. So, thank you, NBA, for taking some of the young talent.
    The NCAA Tournament, allegedly a competition between the very best teams, features an insane 64 squads. The NBA, drawing on a much larger pool of talent that includes a wide range of ages and players from all around the world, has less than half as many and could probably stand to drop a franchise or two.
There are people who are in favor of expanding the NCAA tournament, but I am comfortable with the 65 (not 64). Further, with the aforementioned parity, it makes sense to include more teams that have a legitimate shot. I won't disagree that the NBA could stand to drop a franchise or two, however.
    Consequently, the college game bears only a faint resemblance to the real thing. The dominant big men who can transform a pro game are entirely absent. Strength, speed, quickness, and athleticism are radically diminished, and the quality of the defense is consequently laughable. Yet, despite the poor defense, virtually nobody in the college game has what it takes to penetrate into the lane and make a strong move to the hoop. So the rules need to be altered -- a 35-second shot clock instead of the proper 24 and a short three-point line -- to give the offense some hope.
Proper? As is good old English proper? Only if your game is all about scoring and very little about defense. You have to entertain the customers with your staff, of course, and that is what the NBA game has been marketing itself as for years: showtime. That's what Yglesias clearly puts his premium on:
    To watch the world's best basketball teams -- the Miami Heat, the Phoenix Suns, the San Antonio Spurs, the Detroit Pistons, the Dallas Mavericks -- is to distinctly put oneself in the presence of greatness. The feats on display are not quite super-human -- Shaquille O'Neal and Shawn Marion and Tim Duncan are still members of our species at the end of the day -- but they certainly appear to be...
And on and on. I get it. Better talent. Superhuman feats of acrobatery. Woo hoo. I am in awe. But, still, you know what? I'd rather watch the Wichita St. versus George Mason matchup this Friday than some podunk drive the lane with expert prowess, followed by a highlight dunk, followed by a spectacular paycheck, followed by sighs of fans wishing they cared about the outcome of the game. And what it comes down so, as far as I can fathom, is personal preference. I love the thrill of watching kids struggle and fight to win a title for their school. I love watching the upsets and the agony. I love watching teams play in game where every single game could be their last. That is tension, not silly 7-game playoff series. When do the TV ratings spike? Game 7, naturally, when it's on the line, when people care. And you get that in every single NCAA tournament game.
    It's of a piece with the same blinkered anti-elitism that led not only millions of voters but a shockingly large suite of pundits who should have known better to conclude that it didn't matter that George W. Bush wasn't up to the job of running the United States of America. It's the athletic equivalent of the blinkered anti-intellectualism no respectable person would endorse in other walks of life.
Finally, we get a little more insight into the mind of this goofball. Now he is equating liking NCAA hoops to liking Bush. Well, now it's pretty clear that Yglesias' love for the 'best' isn't so much about the NBA, but because he feels his politics should get a fair shake. Granted, the analogy is quite a leap, but this is where you calmly pat the patient on the shoulder and soothe him with, "There, there. It's okay."
    The very structure of the tournament reinforced the mediocrity inherent in the sport. A six-round single-elimination tournament is crazy. Even a truly dominant team -- one that wins 80 percent of the time it plays -- will lose such a tournament three times out of four.
Wow, sounds tough. How do these teams manage without all that NBA talent? The very spice of this tournament is that sometimes, the 'best' do not win. This is like talking to a wall, but then I knew it. Finally, the rant ends, with as much dignity as it began:
    If your alma mater is in the mix, or if you, like most everyone, has some money riding on the outcome, then by all means watch and root. But know that you're watching a kind of farce, a competition between players who can't quite hack it designed to ensure that being the best team is no guarantee of victory. Or, you can wait 'til April and May and check out the NBA playoffs if you want to see the game played properly.
There's that word 'properly' again, which appropriate signals the end of an elitist article. But not before his primary mental defect is found. Here it is, again
    But know that you're watching a kind of farce, a competition between players who can't quite hack it designed to ensure that being the best team is no guarantee of victory.
Matthew can't stand to lose, and he can't stand that the 'best' team isn't guaranteed a victory. Aw, boo hoo, poor Matty has to deal with the real world! Sounds like Matthew was on the 'best' team in high school that lost the championship to an 'inferior' team and he's projecting onto the NCAA. He better not tune in this weekend, which, as always, promises to be one of the most exciting and unpredictable weekends in sport. Something that clearly would be unnerving to him.

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