A Championship Game Only College-Basketball Fans Could Love

Will Leitch, writing for New York Magazine, explains why yesterday’s NCAA Men’s Basketball final game was great and those who wanted to bash college basketball are wrong.

He starts his argument this way:

In fact, for most of Monday night’s title game, the general consensus was that the sport, and this game, was terrible. That the teams in the title game, which Virginia won 85-77 in overtime, were two of the most notoriously defensive-minded in all of basketball led to an undeniable takeaway: This Final Four, which could have had Zion Williamson and Duke but instead had Virginia, Texas Tech, Michigan State, and Auburn, stunk. 

It seemed to take forever for onlookers to notice they were watching one of the best championship games of all time.

Then further down Will unleashes this monster of a paragraph:

But, even before the game got crazy at the end, it is also worth pointing out that college basketball diehards loved Monday night’s matchup. Coaches Tony Bennett and Chris Beard are two of the most respected, strategically inventive coaches in the game (and, not for nothing, are both considered potential NBA coaches someday). The idea that these are the only two teams in all of basketball who play defense is absurd — the NBA plays the best defense in the world, don’t you know — but they are both particularly great at it, and some people do, in fact, like watching defense: They’re called college-basketball fans. Also, in case this matters: It was in fact a fantastic game that came down to the final seconds, the seventh time in the last eight years that the national title game has been within six points or less. Meanwhile, you likely fell asleep during the Super Bowl this year, and everyone already knows who is going to win the NBA Finals this year. Virginia’s championship is itself its own terrific story too; it’s the first in school history, and it came a year after they became the first No. 1 seed in tournament history to lose to a No. 16 seed. This game might not have pleased people who only watch one college basketball game a year. But the way each team kept unleashing haymakers at each other in the biggest game any of them will ever play made those of us who do watch college basketball downright giddy.

Honestly, I don’t watch a lot of college basketball other than Illinois and the Big Ten, but when I do and when I don’t have a dog in the fight (like last night), I love watching it.

Also, Charles Barkley is turribull” and needs to stay off the broadcast.

April 9, 2019