By Sports Enthusiast and Guru Ryan Mitchell, Contributing Blogger
The 2014-2015 College basketball season has officially arrived after its long 7-month hiatus, following UCONN’s surprise run through the tournament last spring. Yesterday marked the start of a new season with ESPN hosting its annual 24-hour marathon of games. This year, the marathon was culminated in a pair of ranked showdowns as part of the annual Champions Classic Event in Indianapolis. The event featured #4 Duke running away from #22 Michigan State and #1 Kentucky throttling #5 Kansas.
Much like last year, the hype floodgates following this event are wide open amongst the media and fans alike. One only has to look back to the results of the same event last season in Chicago, in which #2 Michigan State knocked off #1 Kentucky and #5 Kansas took care of #4 Duke, to realize the overall impact, or lack thereof, on determining the outcome of each participant’s season. Following the event last year, the aforementioned outlets would have had you believing that Michigan State and Kansas were destined for a collision in the Final Four in Dallas because of their showings on that chilly November evening.
As it played out, Duke was knocked out in their first game of the NCAA tournament, and neither of those schools reached those lofty expectations or Dallas. In fact, it was event that sent Kentucky into a regular season nosedive in which they were only an 8 seed headed into the tournament. In fairness, the Wildcats then went on a semi-miraculous run of buzzer beaters and close game victories that spared the group of entirely being labeled failures. Unfortunately for them, their luck ran out to a more disciplined and mature UCONN team in the National Championship game. This begs the question, that for all of that hype and all of the talking heads supposed “expertise,” where was UCONN in that conversation that night in November where we all fawned over the supposed pre-Final Four?
Thus, as media and fans, let’s hold ourselves to the higher standard that we will keep things in perspective this season and not buy into sensationalism or incomplete early season rankings and results! It’s a simple request and one that will make your viewing this season far more enjoyable. Look outside of the rankings and look outside of the “Big 5 conferences” when viewing. Keep looking outside of network affiliated conference promotions that will cloud your ability to think of any other game that night. The best part of college basketball is that there is always a game being played and the significance of that game remains to be determined. No matter how small it may seem because of the names on the jersey, it’s of the same importance because one of those teams can and will ruin your school or your bracket come tournament time.
Enjoy the “November Reign”