The Big Ten regular season AND tournament champion Michigan State Spartans have carried the league’s standard straight into the Final Four by dethroning the presumptive national champion Duke Blue Devils in a thriller for the ages. Seeing where previous challengers had failed, the Spartans shot the three ball instead of becoming the third straight team to miss a wide open layup against Duke to lose the game.
Duke coach Mick Krizilonski deserves credit for his innovative coaching strategy of signing three of the top five recruits in the 2018 class, out
biddingbrotherhooding the Kansas Jayhawks for the services of Zion Williamson. Coaches all over the country saw this strategy unfold and thought “damn, why didn’t I think of that?” The reason? They don’t have the tactical genius only found on the sidelines at Cameron Field House.
That’s why media outlets are lamenting the untimely demise of Duke’s championship run, from earnest tears at USA Today to a more cynical mourning at Deadspin.
The former posits that all of us are worse off because of also-rans like B1G champion Michigan State and #1 seed Virginia getting into the Final Four and not Zion and the Williamsons or Coach Classzewski, who would probably admonish writer Andy Nesbitt by telling him “you’re too good a writer to be acting like that.” Won’t somebody think of the poor networks and the ad revenue that they might be missing out on? Who’s looking out for everyone who ISN’T a basketball fan?
The latter takes a more meta approach, telling the reader “come on baby, you know you love having this thick veiny Duke shoved down your throat every March, what’s the sense in denying it?”
Both are wrong, because as a matter of fact, Duke losing is extremely good for college basketball and its fans. There’s a number of reasons for this, the most obvious among which is the enormous number of fans who can’t stand to see that rat faced coach up on his high horse again, pretending to be above college basketball recruiting’s sketchy dealings and somehow getting people do buy his narrative that he’s the only honest and moral coach left in the sport that doesn’t coach Auburn.
To mourn the loss of two more games where you could watch Williamson, RJ Barret and Cam Reddish play college basketball is asinine as they’re all surefire NBA players. You’ll get plenty of chances to watch them play against an even higher level of competition, and players coming and going is part of college basketball fandom that everyone has to accept.
Also, I don’t care who you are, you got more than enough Zion Williamson coverage this season. You couldn’t possibly want any more.
Duke losing proves that college basketball is not yet lost to a point where you can just recruit a platoon of one-year-rental NBA players and waltz to the national title without resistance. This is vindication for anyone who’s ever argued that the NCAA tournament is must-see TV!
Another of the many benefits of Duke losing is their exit from the NCAA tournament each year is the closest many Duke alumni will ever get to experiencing adversity. Surely the university appreciates such a character building opportunity for its graduates.
It’s high time sports fans took sports back from the mythical “casual fan” that won’t watch the Final Four if it’s not Duke, UNC, Kentucky and Kansas. These people are not the lifeblood of the sport, and frankly anyone who is LESS likely to watch a Final Four because Loyola is in it does not deserve to ever watch the Final Four. How many chances do you get to see that? Haven’t these casual sports fans I’ve heard so much about been getting their way already with the Warriors vs. Lebron James, Alabama vs. Clemson and Patriots vs. Halfway Interesting Team matchups of the last several years? Can’t actual sports fans have just one tournament ONE YEAR where the presumptive favorite doesn’t make the semifinal?
College football managed to survive 2007, a year where Michigan lost to Appalachian State, Pete Carroll USC lost as a 41-point favorite, Illinois beat Ohio State on the road en route to the Rose Bowl, Kansas won the Orange Bowl, Indiana won seven games, 13-9 occurred, Oregon State and CONNECTICUT each won nine games, Notre Dame was terrible and the national champion lost two games. Not only did college football survive this season of upheaval despite the absence of the DOMINANT DYNASTY or UNSTOPPABLE VILLIAN that sports media has assured us we need in order to even watch games, but the CFB blogosphere never stops waxing rhapsodic about “the greatest season ever.”
There’s another implication, and that is that we college basketball fans would miss Duke if they ever went on an extended absence from the tournament. I, for one, would never tire of laughing at their sustained incompetence. Nobody weeps for UCLA, onetime winner of an excessive amount of consecutive championships. Nobody would weep for Duke in good faith except Duke people.
Wait, that’s not fair; they can’t really be called “people.”
In conclusion, everybody knows that nothing is worse for college basketball than its continued association with Bruce Pearl.
What is best for College Basketball?
This poll is closed
Duke is added back to the tournament and plays the winner of Auburn/Virginia
Duke is declared AP national champion anyway
Duke loses every game for the next ten years and Bruce Pearl is exiled from the sport