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NBA? No Thanks.

March 31st, 2011

I’m still bitter LeBron James left Cleveland, but after watching the NCAA Tournament the past few weeks, I care less and less about his departure. Quite frankly, I had to be reminded early last week that James and the Miami Heat were coming to Cleveland.

I went to the Cavs/Heat game at Quicken Loans Arena on Tuesday night, and much of the night was scripted: Fans would mercilessly boo LeBron and he would go off (and he did, recording a triple-double). Somehow, someway, the Cavaliers found a way to win the game in what was the only surprise of the night.

I’m glad the Cavs won, but as we all know the wins are few and far between. Usually the results inside Quicken Loans Arena are about as predictable as the WWE matches that are hosted inside the same arena.

If you peek at the ESPN.com power rankings from the preseason and now, 22 weeks into the season, they look the same. Of the top 10 teams from late October, eight teams still remain.

Why play the regular season?  I get that the playoffs are exciting and if I had a horse in the race, I’d watch each playoff game. Realistically, five or six teams have a shot at winning the title. If you aren’t a fan of one of those teams, there is little point in tuning in to watch the two teams go back-and-forth for 46 minutes before pressing the ‘on’ button in the final two minutes to decide the outcome.

I don’t even like hockey, but I find the Stanley Cup playoffs to be riveting. The pride and passion is obvious. I don’t see that when I watch professional hoops.

College basketball is more my cup of tea. Butler and Virginia Commonwealth doing battle Saturday night for the chance to play for the national title? Sign me up. Nobody, except for two losers that filled out hundreds of brackets on ESPN.com, saw that coming.

I get that the NBA players are the best in the world. Players like J.J. Redick and Adam Morrison dominate college basketball and then fall off the face of the Earth when they start getting paychecks. I think it is, in many ways, a completely different game.

It’s a better game. It’s a team game. We heard a lot this week about “The Butler Way,” which is a way of saying the right way. Play team defense, hustle and put the team first.

We’ve heard that the folks at CBS aren’t happy that Butler and Virginia Commonwealth will meet in one semifinal Saturday night because they’ll lose advertising dollars. Sorry for them, but I’m pumped.

Contact Tim Ertle at

tertle11@jcu.edu