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Why the NCAA Is Better Than the NBA

By Brian Chase


Besides the NFL playoffs, which are getting the most attention in the sports world nowadays, this month is also the height of basketball season, with both the NBA and NCAA Division I basketball seasons in full swing. I’m only paying attention to one of those leagues, though, and that’s the college one. To me, collegiate basketball is much more entertaining than the NBA, for several reasons.

1. Egos

In college basketball, you don’t run into any players that are convinced they are the be-all, end-all of the league and deserve to be paid that way. College players, through the difficulty of the competition, the fact that most of them are still learning, and the fact that they are paid in education, seem to me to be much more humble, and much more likeable, than anyone in the NBA.

2. Playing style

To me, it seems that more teams in college win through united team strategies than relying on two or three stars for individual performances, like in the NBA. Admittedly, there are college teams that play that way as well, but for every one of them there is a team like Gonzaga, who consistently plays better than their talent because they have a good coach and because they play as a united whole, relying on no one player.

3. College Fans

There is no NBA stadium that can produce the intensity and outright crazy fanaticism that college students show for their respective teams. You don’t see NBA stadiums filled with an entire section of screaming college fans all with painted bodies and choreographed, traditional tactics to disrupt the opposing team on free throws. It adds a level of excitement and enjoyment to college games that isn’t there in the NBA.

4. Parity

In any given year of college basketball, there are at least twenty teams that are good enough to win the championship, unlike the NBA, where you know a Western conference team will win, and you usually even know which one by the first round of the playoffs. In college b-ball, you never know until the final game who’s going to win, and a winner can come from any of the major conferences. The greater number of teams also means there are more possible match-ups between good teams, and so generally more good games than in the NBA.

5. Permanence

In college, there is a much better chance the team you root for will be around for as long as you are, and there is no chance of the team being sold or moving cities. Along the same lines, the sheer number of college teams means that more people have a team they can root for, even if they do not live near a major city.

6. Playoffs

This one goes pretty much without saying. To me, the NBA playoffs never come near to the excitement of March Madness. And really, that’s the most important part of the season, isn’t it?

Now, I admit, the individual players are undoubtedly better in the NBA than in college, and maybe the level of basketball is, too. But to me, those factors don’t make up the difference between the enjoyment I get from college basketball and the only slight interest I have in the NBA. For my money, give the younger guys the ball, and let the pros complain to their agents.