Wednesday, March 12, 2008

For how fun conference tourneys are, they make little-to-no sense

As an objective, sports-watching fan, we love conference tourneys. Especially the small ones. They're fun, they're exciting, and it's two teams battling so hard to get their lunch handed to them by UNC or Memphis.

As a believer in sports justice and fairness, we think conference tournaments are more flawed than those Ernest Goes to (blank) movies. (As an aside, we would think much higher of those films if they made one titled Ernest Goes to Hell, Ernest Goes to an Asian Massage Parlor or Ernest Goes Number Two.)

Conference tournaments only make sense in one scenario: A league with two divisions. (i.e. Big 12 or SEC). Then the league has a tournament to crown a true champ. OK, fine.

Here's why we don't like conference tourneys:
  • Why does the top team need to prove itself again?
  • It provides extra games for teams to help (or hurt) their NCAA Tournament standing.
  • They're poorly attended.
  • The major conference tourneys are in NBA arenas, which are like watching games in a giant cave.
We'll use the Pac-10 as an example to illustrate those bottom two bullet points.

The Pac-10, a one-divison league, has a conference tournament to give the top team a chance to fuck up and to give the league an opportunity to make money.

It's played on a "neutral court" at the Staples Center, home of the Lakers and the other LA team. The Pac-10 tourney being played in the Staples Center is flawed on other multiple levels:
  • It's like watching a game in a giant cave
  • It's poorly attended
  • It's not neutral
We've said for years that there's absolutely no reason for it being in Staples except someone thinks money can be made on it being there. But everyone knows that LA has terrible sports fans, evident by the fact that LA has no football team and, well, the Clippers.

Rather, the Pac-10 Tournament should either be:
  • At Sacramento's Arco Arena (still a cave, but a neutral one). The closest set of schools are Cal and Stanford, about an hour and a half away.)
  • Rotated between West Coast NBA arenas. The Oakland Coliseum, Staples, the Rose Garden, KeyArena and wherever the Suns play. It'd still have the cavernous feeling, but it keeps it neutral. Sort of.
  • Rotated between home sites. Neutral and not cavernous! Yay! Imagine this year's tourney being at Oregon's Mac Court. That might give the Ducks the wins they need to get off the bubble.
  • At the No. 1 seed's home site.

And that last bullet point is really the problem with all major conference tourneys. (To be fair, many of the small mid-majors' top seed has home court throughout).

If a team already has won its conference outright, and then has to prove its dominance again in a conference tourney, at least there should be an advantage of being the No. 1. (This is sort of moot in the Pac-10, since UCLA has won the regular season title like 27 years in a row (more like three) and the Bruins virtually get home games at Staples, anyway.)

So, ugh, yeah. Fuck conference tournaments. (Sorta, kinda). All we need now is for the Huskies to take out Cal, UCLA, and two more teams and go to the NCAA Tournament. Then we'd consider blowing Pac-10 commissioner, Tom Hansen.


Bokolis said...

I'll tell you what the conference tourneys are good for...

Where is the Big 10 tourney? I'm going to find out this IU cheerleader's name for you all...and whether she'll take it 3-hole the first time. While I'm doing that, the rest of y'all can look down your noses at me, like every broad you've ever banged was a dime.

JMC said...

the other thing that you like to talk about but didn't really mention in this post is how they fuck up the NCAA tournament when a shitty team (like San Diego) gets in when they had no chance otherwise, meaning that some much much more deserving team that's on the bubble won't get in, thus lowering the level of competition of the whole tourney.

The Big Picture said...

good point, j

GMoney said...

If a team is on the bubble, do they really "deserve" to get in??? If they want to bitch, then don't lose 10-12 games during the season.

Ray said...

Nice collage, Zach. I think I've got the Pacers to win it all.