College Basketball Fans are the Real Winners of an NBA Lockout
If you ever want to witness an amusing sports debate, pit an NBA fan against a college basketball fan. NBA fan laughs at the athleticism, size, and pace of the college game. College fan can't understand the perceived lack of effort until the playoffs and the lack of defense.
The truth is both have valid points. Veteran teams like the Lakers, Celtics, and Spurs have admitted to taking nights off in the regular season, especially on the final game of a long road trip. College coaches often try to slow the game down to maximize possessions and frustrate more athletic teams.
If the NBA lockout continues into the 2011 season, the college basketball fan is an unintended winner. For one, college games will have the monopoly if the start of the NBA season is delayed. Secondly, many top college players opted to return to school because of the uncertainty facing the NBA. Ohio State's Jared Sullinger and UNC's Harrison Barnes are the highest profile players who stayed in school. Barnes and Sullinger would have been sure fire 'one-and-doners' in normal years.
The combination of experienced blue chippers, the normal crop of freshman blue chippers, and solid upperclassmen who will never play in the NBA should lead to an exciting college season. This may only be a one year trend because I don't see the labor unrest in the NBA lasting more than one season.
At the very least, we should be spared another Butler/UCONN final. We all win when that happens.