NCAA Tournament Business, Sportico Predictions –


It’s officially the season of madness. Welcome to the big dance, folks.

We all know that the men’s tournament is the lifeblood of the NCAA’s multi-billion dollar business. It’s also a major revenue stream for conferences, especially those that focus more on basketball than football. Men’s teams that survive and advance secure the largest payouts from the NCAA. It’s high time that this also applies to the participants in the women’s tournament, but unfortunately I don’t make the rules.

Women’s Tournament Final will Broadcast on ABC this year which is a win. The size of the audience that the title fight will draw onto Disney’s own broadcast network — which, unlike ESPN, is available across all 121 million television homes in the US — will be huge for future media rights deals and investment in the sport and the NCAA in particular. No pressure. (On the men’s side, CBS and Warner Bros. Discovery remain committed to their March Madness coverage.)

Basically, the next three weeks are undeniably important for the business of university sports. But March Madness isn’t just about the money. Millions of fans tune in to catch as many games as possible, cheer on their favorite teams or the demise of their rivals, and get behind the double-digit underdog seed that makes it to the Sweet 16 or beyond.

With that in mind, I asked some of my Sportico Colleagues what they’ve either been looking forward to most about these tournaments or what they’re keeping an eye on. See below for their delightfully different answers.

Jacob Feldman: Is the Big 12 on the verge of firmly establishing itself as the nation’s premier men’s basketball conference? College sports have become as much a battle between conferences as they are between schools of late, and while upcoming defectors from Texas and Oklahoma dealt a potentially existential blow to the Big 12, their programs showed no signs of slowing down on the court. With seven of the conference’s 10 teams dancing, the Big 12 have a solid shot at taking home a third straight national title (four if you count Kansas, which finishes the aborted 2019-20 season at the top of the AP poll ). And next year Houston will add it.

Just Novy Williams: I’m most looking forward to: Upsets! It’s a cliche, but it’s true. The best thing about those few weeks is the inevitable blue-blooded program, losing to a school you’ve barely heard of. As the financial gaps in the NCAA widen, I fear a future where college basketball tournaments will be played like the college football playoffs. But until then, give me the Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns (!) beating Tennessee and Duke in opening weekend.

Lev Akabas: Zach Edey of Purdue is a very tall human being, standing 7ft 4 and weighing over 300 pounds. He was also one of the top varsity basketball players in the country that season, averaging 22.3 points and 12.8 rebounds for a team that secured a No. 1 spot in the Big Dance. The youngest giant of comparable height to the March Madness star was the 7ft 6 tacko Fall, whose UCF Knights almost upset Zion Williamson and Duke in the second round in 2019. Fall went undrafted and only played 37 career games in the NBA, which isn’t exactly surprising — no one has had success this big in the league since Yao Ming. However, Edey has more offensive skills than Fall, and perhaps an NCAA tournament run can set him up for an NBA career.

bed Canter: The Northwest men’s basketball team plays Boise State in the program’s third (!!!) NCAA tournament game Thursday. Led by guards Boo Buie and Chase Audige, the team had a historic season this year, with the second-most wins in program history (21) and their highest-ever finish in the Big Ten (tie runners-up). Fans watching the Wildcats’ first-ever March Madness game against Vanderbilt in 2017 were treated to a dramatic timed-out win after a Commodore error (the Cats then lost in the second round to eventual NCAA runner-up Gonzaga). Will Northwestern end this banner season with a win in March?

Eric Jackson: For men, Brandon Miller’s situation in Alabama is unfortunate but also intriguing. There is no doubt that this story is worth following, especially when the Crimson Tide runs deep. ladies? It’s so difficult to end with a perfect season, so I’m looking forward to seeing if South Carolina can go the distance. It might help that they’re playing in their backyard this year. They definitely have a good chance of repeating themselves in the mix with Aliyah Boston.

Daniel Libit: Almost two years after the NCAA was forced by state legislatures to accept NIL, and with the advent of pay-to-play or athlete-employee rights, what I’m most looking forward to is the latest depictions of Spring Whine – from highly paid tournament coaches and CBS color commentators – on how “money ruins college sports”.

And finally, I’ll throw mine in the ring: I’m really excited to see Caitlin Clark being the talk of the tournaments (yes, plural) this month, and the inevitable Elite Eight matchup between Clark’s No. 2 Iowa and Top seeded Stanford. A bonus would be an Iowa-South Carolina Final Four. My goodness. If there will be chalk, at least it will be good. Don’t sleep on the women’s level (and don’t forget to keep an eye on our March Madness series over the next few weeks!).

Source link

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *