The days of high school seniors going straight into the NBA have been over for a few years now. It used to be that if a high school student was good enough he could go directly into the NBA draft. Now players have to play at least one year of NCAA basketball before going to the league.
This has a profound impact on college basketball. There is already plenty of parody in the sport of college basketball but with the current format (where students have to play at least one year before going to the NBA) the NCAA bracket will continue to get more and more interesting.
Every year it seems like the overall seeding of the teams means less and less. Sometimes it is clear who the top teams are but it seems that more teams seeded between 15-11 are taking out teams seeded between 2-6.
Why might this be? This is obviously not a scientific law but more of a hypothesis. My guess is that since these players are coming into college expecting to get their one year done before the NBA there are less “teams” who are ready to compete for the title. There are always teams that are loaded with talented players that are looking to snag their championship before going to the league.
While on the other hand there are smaller, mid-major, schools who have experienced teams that have plenty of chemistry. These well-oiled machines usually have plenty of upperclassmen who have been playing together for numerous years.
This generally shows that the overall tournament is dominated by teams that have plenty of experience playing together. I’m not saying that the best team, or even the champion for that matter, can’t be your super freshmen team — but overall teams who have more experience playing together win more games in the tournament.
The obvious exception here would be the 2012 Kentucky Wildcats who won the tournament with nearly all superstar freshmen. But even in that year, the first round saw numerous experienced teams overthrow the “more talented” younger teams.
Last season’s championship Louisville team was also an experienced team that had plenty of chemistry after playing together for so long.
Until the NCAA requires players to stay for two years this will continue to be an issue; thankfully for us it is a fun issue. It is always great to see teams like Dayton, North Dakota State and Mercer win their opening game over a “better” opponent.
Every year the tournament will continue to be filled with over talented teams that have no chemistry as they matchup with smaller schools who have plenty of experience playing together. For the most part the seeding in the tournament means absolutely nothing, in fact, I imagine it won’t be long before a 16 seed defeats a 1 seed.
It makes for exciting television but how much longer until players are either allowed to go to the league directly from high school or forced to play two seasons? Most teams look radically different from year to year and that is due to the rule.
I am not saying to change the rule, but it is interesting to think what it could be like if players like Jabari Parker and Andrew Wiggins had to play another season at their school.
Tyler Rollason is a Winder-Barrow High School graduate and mass communications major at the University of West Georgia. He writes a weekly sports column for the Barrow Journal. You can e-mail comments about this column to firstname.lastname@example.org.