John Calipari is a men’s basketball coach for a university located in Lexington, Kentucky, aptly named the University of Kentucky. You may have heard of it. They play OVC teams from time to time, just not that one.
He has an idea for what to do with conference tournaments, especially for those of you who hate that a team that gets hot and wins four games in four days should go to the NCAA Tournament instead of the team that lost half the number of regular season conference games.
The idea: move the conference tournaments to November, and just give the auto-bid to the team that wins the regular season.
Calipari floated the idea for the SEC, (who appear to be politely saying no thanks) and then doubled-down on twitter.
Why don't we play the games in the football stadium in Atlanta and set up two courts with stands split down the middle?
— John Calipari (@UKCoachCalipari) June 1, 2016
Let’s, um, ignore that part. And let’s ignore the reality of the situation, that no conference would willingly move or get rid of one of the most (read: only) high-profile and profitable events of the season.
John Calipari may be onto something…but not for the SEC, or other Big-5 conferences. They already have plenty of high-profile events.
no conference would willingly move or get rid of one of the most (read: only) high-profile and profitable events of the season
But for most smaller schools, the college basketball season starts with a dud: long road trips, double-digit point deficits by halftime, or hosting schools who you can’t find on the map, because they’re not actually on it. At most of these schools, the basketball season is at best a footnote until college football ends, and at worst completely off-the-radar until the season’s basically over.
The current crop of “tournaments” only makes the situation worse: Some are structured so that only certain pre-determined teams can make the televised ‘finals,’ while others feature uninteresting matchups, 11:00 a.m. tips and webstreams that make the OVC Digital Network look like ESPN. For teams, these November and December tournaments provide much-needed experience, but they all but completely ignore the fans the game is made for.
Why not put all 12 OVC teams in Nashville, (or Lexington, Louisville, St. Louis or Evansville) — guarantee teams two games each, put it on the ‘Digi, and even better, maybe even get some fans in the door. The games (at least some of them) would be competitive, fans would get an early look at the best teams in the conference, and when OVC started for real, there’d already be storylines that could increase interest even more.
these November and December tournaments provide much-needed experience, but they all but completely ignore the fans
Is that not better for the fans? Teams could still keep their non-Division I home games, (despite my constant despise) they could still schedule the Tennessee’s, Memphis’, and for 11 teams, the Kentucky’s of the world. The trade-off? You’d miss some random radio guy masterfully mispronounce Matt McMahon’s name, again, while sending tweets to unmanned twitter accounts asking if they realize that Eastern Illinois is the team in blue, not red and black.
What? Is that just me?
As I said earlier, there’s no reason to believe that the OVC, or any other conference in Division I college basketball, would move their conference tournament from March to November. But…why not just add a second tournament, anyway? More games against teams I know, have heard of, and often care about can’t be a bad thing.
And hey, it’s another opportunity to see OVC refs in acti…on second thought, that might not be an argument in my favor…