Every year since I was like twelve, I have filled out an NCAA Tournament Bracket. If my math is correct that means this year will be the first time in 28 years I have not participated in this tradition. It really is a great American tradition but the quality of the game has been seriously diminished over the last 15-20 years.

Having these players (kids) who are the elite's of College Basketball play for one year and leave for the NBA has ruined the game for me. The best players are not there for four years. It simply means there are less talented players in College Basketball and it shows up in the product. You also don't get to know any of the players and look forward to seeing them next year.

I grew up on Christian Laettner, Bobby Hurley, Chris Webber, Jalen Rose, Larry Johnson, Stacey Augmon, Bryant Reeves AKA "Big Country" Donyell Marshall, Tim Duncan. Alonzo Mourning and Eric Montross.

I hated Laettner & Hurley and loved the "Fab 5." I was passionate about College Basketball back then. I was passionate because the game was way more electric than it is now. Guys had time to develop their game and their personalities. The sport was special and it played out over a much longer timeline. Guys would lose to their rival and come back for revenge the next year.

I don't recognize this game as the one I fell in love with and it's sad because the structure of this tournament lends itself to never-ending memories. I remember Laettner breaking every heart in Kentucky with one shot, I remember watching Montross and Webber battling it out under the boards. The last 15 years, there have been moments I've seen that were exciting but they don't stay with you. The best the game has to offer are not around long enough for us to commit to memory.

Am I a "Communist?" No, no, for sure not. I just don't think this game has the quality it used to. In fact, it kinda sucks. I'll still watch some of the games, get tense, maybe a little sweaty and enjoy it. It won't last, next year, I won't remember who won, who played best and who was the hero of the day. The NBA & the NCAA would be well served to make these kids go to school for four years. It's not only good for the quality of the game but they can enter the NBA as men, not boys.

I know this sounds a lot like a "get off my lawn" old man rant and I'm OK with that, I turn 40 next week.

P.S. I told you I hated Laettner as a kid, I did. I'd pay a lot of money to get in a time machine and go back to see him play again. I'd even root for him. In hindsight he was a bad ass. 

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