NCAA: Media To Blame For Tournament Parity

By Zack Cimini

Is there really tournament parity? Seedings and outcomes would suggest that. Money circles around teams that are the perennial power conference teams. That hasn’t changed and won’t change. Demand for the media to cover these teams hasn’t changed either.

The Big East, SEC, ACC, Big Ten, and Big 12 have their tickets punched for the television networks. Nightly they’re showcased on ESPN’s family of networks. Of course this only draws and translates over to the weekly polls. I know I’m not the only one that’s raised my eyebrows at certain teams jumps in the polls at a given time. The same thing happened with seeding this year. Florida, who is still alive, somehow got a two seed. A team that wasn’t in the top eight all season long, and lost badly in their conference championship to Kentucky. It made absolutely no sense.

Take a conference such as the Pac-10. They’re never showcased on ESPN, as Foxsports has full control of the conference. Besides a quick late night clip, there is never any analysis or expansion of conversation on the conference. Never once has Jay Williams or Doug Gottlieb given a take on a Pac-10 team. Perception all year was that it was a down conference, which obviously has been misleading.

Last year Washington had a strong run in the tournament, and now Arizona is doing the same. You can take a look at the teams left, and think how many times have you watched them play all year. Throw out the Ohio States, Uconn, Kentucky, and Florida. Richmond, VCU, Arizona, Florida St, Marquette, and Butler, you probably can count in single digits on one hand the amount of times combined you’ve seen them on television. In all likelihood it came from the powerhouse ACC or Big East teams pairing up against Florida St. or Marquette.

There’s no denying that the NCAA’s talent level isn’t as high as years past. Talent is spread out and teams truly can build together. It’s a year long process them can blend together with the proper seeding and matchup in the NCAA tournament. Cinderella stories will keep occurring. There just is too much under the radar recruiting going on. Look at Marquette and see what they’ve done with immediate community college transfer impact players. Florida St., snatching an ex-military personnel at age 26, that’s been an integral part of their team. Then VCU, taking upon former athletes from other division one schools, that just needed time to develop into their own.

This day and age with teams and coaches better than ever, wouldn’t you like to see better network coverage for all of college basketball. ESPN is the major source, but they need to split up their coverage. Maybe that’ll awaken the limited analysis of their commentator’s, who are constantly delving in one of the five conferences mentioned above. There’s coverage of high school sports for goodness sakes. After this year take a step into more mid major games, and emerging conferences such as the Atlantic 10.


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