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The Sports View

By RICHARD SHAW
Sports writer

Well, Sunday afternoon we got the word that seven teams from Utah are going to the NCAA championship playoffs. Isn't it good to find that the state is currently in the best collegiate basketball shape it has ever been in.

The announcement that the mens and womens teams from Utah, Weber State, and BYU along with the mens team from Utah State are all traveling across the nation to play at various sites and in various regions was heartening for hard core fans to hear.

Yet, until Sunday afternoon only Weber State's mens and womens teams, and Utah State's mens team had a lock on anything.

That's because they were the only ones who won their conference tournamets.

Are you like me, and think these conference tournaments are stupid? Why do teams play a season at all?

The whole thing, if I remember correctly, began with the Big 10 a decade ago.

They decided it would be fun and I'm sure, particularly profitable, to have a post season tournament each year.

I am also sure not far from their minds was the fact that given the nature of basketball, or any sport for that matter, even a not very good team can beat their best on any given day.

On the flip side, any talented team can easily be in a slump on any given day and lose to a not as good team.

While the Big 10 had repeatedly sent three to five teams to the big dance year after year, I bet they thought that even if their regular season champion was beaten and a cinderella team from the conference made it to the top, that would mean more teams would be invited from their conference.

Problem was, within just a couple of short years all the other conferences started to follow suit. This is when every conference wanted their part of the monetary and NCAA bid pie.

So as much as things changed, they also remained the same, except for one thing.

Now the independents (which there are fewer of than ever, probably because of this Big 10 innovation) have much less chance of getting invited to the tournament because there are so many upsets and not so strong conferences.

Take for example the Mountain West Conference who gets three or even more teams in in each year.

Besides that, many teams that have great season records, and terrific power ratings also get left along side the road to play in the National Invitational Tournament. This is because so many weak sisters win conference championships and create an impossible situation for the selection committee.

Let's face it, it's all about the money and it always will be.

No one cares what the fans think or feel, especially as long as we shell out the bucks to go to games and travel great distances to see teams we love have to try and win a championship that they won once all over again.

It's not that the old days of collegiate basketball were so good, they just seemed a little more fair than today's college athletes and organizations.





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