I can't remember enjoying March Madness, and college hoops in general, as much as I've enjoyed it this year. For some reason, the games seem to be particularly good this year.
I lost a fair amount of interest in college hoops once high schoolers started jumping to the NBA. I���m going to go on a ���back in the day��� rant here and say that college teams used to stay together for three or four years in the past (like Georgetown and St. John's in the mid-'80s, or Duke and UNLV in the early '90s). Once that continuity was removed, the quality declined.
This year everything seems to be back to good. The quality of play has been remarkable, culminating in Sunday's Georgetown-UNC classic, an awesome game. If you love basketball, you were legitimately thrilled like me. Which raises the question ... what's happening here?
Everything started with the NBA's decision to ban high schoolers from its draft. If that didn't happen, Kevin Durant and Greg Oden would have skipped college and so many casual fans wouldn't have been sucked in. Oden's impact on the game this year is immeasurable -- from the block at the end of the Tennessee game to the excitement of his battle against Georgetown's Roy Hibbert this weekend.
Saturday's games (Florida-UCLA and OSU-Georgetown) are must-sees for anyone who enjoys the game of basketball. I can���t wait.
What do you think about the rule and March Madness this year?
(Photo provided by Getty Images/Travis Lindquist)