Seven reasons why college basketball is better than the NBA

It’s basketball season, and I couldn’t be more excited. Although some fans are disappointed they can’t watch Derrick Rose and the Chicago Bulls lose to the Miami Heat or some other team this season, I’m pumped that college basketball is finally returning.

College hoops have a soft spot in my heart, and while the NBA is fun to watch playoff time, I’ll stick to the weekly Blake Griffin highlights during the regular season.

Since the NBA is in the midst of a lockout, and hasn’t realized that most fans haven’t noticed nor cared, I decided to compile a list of seven reasons why college basketball trumps the professionals on any day of the week from November to the beginning of April.

7. Both teams play hard for the entire game: It’s not a secret that NBA players only play hard in the first and fourth quarters while coasting through the middle, but I’d rather watch basketball for an entire 40 minutes.

When was the last time in the NBA where you saw players dive for loose balls, take charges on fast breaks, and go head first into the scorer’s table? You will see all of those during college basketball games, where each possession counts.

6. Fundamental basketball: Does the NBA regular season even qualify as basketball? Players don’t guard each other on defense; they only use one-on-one plays on offense and the best player in the league doesn’t score at the end of games.

When you can switch from Syracuse’s 2-3 zone, to Missouri’s “40 minutes of hell” on defense and North Carolina’s fast-paced offense, it shows the versatility and true essence of the sport.

5. Every team has a chance: How many people predicted Butler would reach the national championship for the second straight year? How many saw the potential VCU had? How many even thought Indiana State would win the Missouri Valley Conference?

The underdog possibility makes all college basketball teams and conferences intriguing, unlike the NBA where the Minnesota Timberwolves are at least six years from competing, and the Orlando  Magic will always be good but never good enough to win a championship.

4. Student sections: Although the student section is nearly non-existent at Bradley, most schools have an enthusiastic and passionate group of students. The “Cameron Crazies” at Duke are one of the most popular student sections in the country, and for good reason.

They make the games more exciting, and I can only assume that atmosphere can’t be rivaled by any regular season NBA game. The fans stand, jump and chant for the entire game only feet away from the court.

3. The passion: What is better than players and fans going crazy after a buzzer beater, some players crying after a heart-breaking loss and the devastation of a last-second shot that spins out of the rim. Fans don’t get the same passion from professionals because they play the long 82-game seasons, compared to the any game may break your season at the college level.

2. The rivalries: I’m from Minnesota, but that didn’t stop the huge Duke versus North Carolina rivalry from rifting through my high school. The players don’t like each other; the fans hate each school and the coaches’ fuel the rivalry. The traditions at each school are unparalleled across the country, and it provides must-see television.

1. March Madness: The greatest tournament in any sport. Name a better feeling than watching several basketball games continuously one after another, with tons of exciting finishes.

This is where miracles happen, and the one of many reasons why college basketball is the only basketball I need.