As I’ve transitioned to covering the men’s basketball team at Bradley, my love for the college basketball game has increased.
I had a realization: the college basketball game is more exciting night in and night out than that of the professional game in the NBA.
I may be a bit partial to the college game because I attend most Bradley Braves men’s and women’s basketball games. But the college game is faster, more exciting and every game matters.
The NBA season is long, stretching from October until possibly June for teams that advance deep in the playoffs. Each week there can be up to three or four games for the team that you may root for and 82 games overall for each team. With multiple games a week, each game does not become crucial and thus, not exciting.
In the college game, the games start around the same time of the year and end a little earlier in March, but every game in college basketball matters because of how few games there are. In college, a team will play around 32 games with only one or two games a week.
The NBA game consists of a 48-minute game with four, 12-minute quarters. The college game consists of two 20-minute halves with a much faster-paced game that makes most games exciting at the very end.
Most conferences are close in the standings, and every game means something to the standings because each team is fighting for the best position for their specific conference tournaments.
In the NBA the two different conferences have such a ridiculously large difference between the top two or three teams and the rest of the conference.
In this age we see college athletes bolt to the NBA, specifically this week as we saw Kansas freshman Andrew Wiggins declare for the NBA draft. It is nice to realize for a moment that the game these players are leaving is much more exciting than the professional league where they are headed.
Yes, money is the only reason these young players leave their specific schools, but at what price?
The players that stay enjoy their time playing more years than the students who leave after one academic year.
If you go to any college campus, the players who are loved by the student body are the ones who are not only good with students, but ones that show a commitment to the college game. The players who embody these characteristics do so because they enjoy it so much, not the big money the NBA has.
The NBA will continue to steal college players that are essential to the college game, but for the time being at least we can enjoy what they bring to the college game. We thank the ones who stay and continue to make the college game that much better than the NBA.
Happy March Madness, everyone.
Aaron Freeman is a sophomore sports communication major from Wheeling, Illinois.
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