Why Is College Basketball So Boring This Year?

We’re a week away from Selection Sunday and finishing up a weekend that was packed with top 25 matchups in our key conferences. Conference championship tournaments and selection Sunday are a few days away and I can’t escape this feeling of being underwhelmed by the College Basketball season. Sure, watching Gonzaga do their yearly song and dance of dominating the West Coast Conference has been nice. Baylor capturing their first Big 12 title EVER in overtime at West Virginia was a hell of a way to spend a Tuesday afternoon. There’s also a few freshmen that have lived up to the hype that NBA draft expert Mike Schmitz touted them to be in Cade CunninghamJalen SuggsZiaire Williams, and Evan Mobley. When I really think of the totality of the season, the overall spark and excitement hasn’t been there since we’ve gotten out of the initial excitement of College Basketball returning. 

Some of this can be attributed to the inconsistency of schedule due to covid which led to a similar feeling during the college football season. Fans being absent from arenas hasn’t helped the cause either. Missing those crazy college kids is kind of like having a Drake album where he doesn’t sing. Yes, he’s a great rapper, but we need the melodies from the biggest rapper/pop star. However, I think this primarily falls at the feet of the blue blood programs being down across the board. 

We’ve seen some unprecedented absences in the top 25 by our usual suspects. Kentucky, Duke, North Carolina, Syracuse, Arizona, and UCLA have all had down years. At one point we even had Kansas outside of the top 25 for the first time since 2009, but the Jayhawks rebounded to finish second in their conference. Kentucky and Duke both brought in their normal recruiting classes that were star-studded, ranking 1 and 2 on rivals.com. Carolina followed them with the #3 overall class. After hearing Roy Williams admit that his 2019-20 team was the “least gifted UNC team he’s ever had”, you’d think the influx of new talent and returning players would lead to a bump this year. Sean Miller at Arizona and coach Boeheim at Syracuse seem to be clinging to their jobs after consecutive seasons that have been average at best. 

Ultimately, the question remains, why do programs like these “need to be good”? Whether we recognize it or admit to it, rooting against or for these teams is what keeps us glued throughout the season. Furthermore, the casual fan is drawn in by these recognizable names. When these teams are good their stars shine a bit brighter. For basketball junkies, Cade Cunningham and Ziare Williams are must-watch TV, but Oklahoma State and Stanford aren’t first-class names when talking college hoops. There are a few ingredients we can add to this crappy meal we’ve been served to make it taste a bit better. 

Step 1: We get a Kemba Walker like run from one of these top 10 projected picks in this year’s draft. 

Step 2: A Cinderella run similar to the UMBC team in 2018 gives us a feel-good story. 

Step 3: MULTIPLE buzzer-beaters. 

Step 4: Two of the top 1-2 seeds advances to the Final Four with a star e.g. Jalen Suggs and Gonzaga. 

Step 5: Cross your fingers … or whichever ritual you’d do when your team needs to rally in the second half of a game. 

About Jarreau Brown 48 Articles
Jarreau is an Atlanta transplant who's been an Oregon resident since 2014. He graduated from Grambling State University in 2013 with a degree in Sports Management and Marketing. He also ran the 200m and 400m while there and was a 6-time SWAC Conference Champion. Here's a few things he's passionate about in sports: league drafts, post-season action, Coors Light, and respect for Matt Ryan. All of his work in life is done to set up his retirement plan in Atlanta, where he'll be a season ticket holder for all Braves and Falcons games.