A. Bitoni Fan
Years ago

NCAA D1 v NBL - value of on-court product?

There's a great thread already regarding standard of play on the forum, including chatter about how NBL sides would go against Kentucky etc. - http://www.hoops.com.au/forum/36746-ncaa-d1-level-comparison/

What I wanted to discuss was more from a marketing/commercial standpoint. Putting aside a "special" team like this year's Kentucky one, I think the general consensus is that the standard of play in mid to high D1 college basketball is broadly comparable with that of the NBL.

With that in mind, it is somewhat mind blowing the amount of media attention and interest that the NCAA tournament generates relative to the NBL. Where do we draw the line regarding what it is that really gets fans/media excited about a sporting competition in light of this. A few thoughts of my own:

- I consider the general standard of D1 college hoops relatively average in regards to strategic execution and general excitement. They have a 35 second shot clock with which most teams spend the first 20 odd seconds doing not much at all, which makes the games pretty slow in general. There was a recent conference championship game (Sun Belt conference) that finished with a final score of 38-36, yet this type of game still garnered attention on the likes of ESPN SportsCenter etc. The conference champ in that particular game (Georgia State) went on to upset higher ranked Xavier in their first NCAA tournament game;
- Having said the above, the NCAA still trumps the NBL as far as capacity for "highlight" plays made by great athletes;
- With seemingly every city having their own college team, the tournament that brings it all together is a great way for the whole country to get on board and interested;
- College sports in general and basketball are well ingrained as "traditional" sporting competitions in the USA;
- The championship game seems to regularly draw "football" sized crowds of 70,000 plus, in addition to the millions of others watching on TV. The tournament as a whole is considered a sporting event up there with the likes of any in the USA as far as interest/attention.

In summary, I don't really consider the standard of play in the NCAA tournament to be substantially superior (if at all) to the NBL, with the exception of athleticism levels and capacity to produce highlight plays. As per a comment in the other thread, James Ennis is an example of a guy who was a relatively anonymous player in college circles yet was viewed as a "god" in NBL circles just for his sheer athleticism which was far and above what we normally see.

I just find it funny that the NBL is unable to generate any sort of positive buzz/media attention yet another competition with a fairly similar overall standard of basketball is able to command the attention of the USA for its final tournament.

Is it really as simple as having some more highlights and tradition that we're missing? Perhaps it's just the sheer magnitude and excitement of the "one loss and you're out" stakes and the storylines created as such?

Topic #36767 | Report this topic

A. Bitoni Fan  
Years ago

Just adding to my comment above about that 38-36 game, there are several others where the scoring is low (be it in the 50s or 60s), yet when I see the game story or highlights being presented/discussed, there is usually no comment about the scores or efficiency being low.

Whereas in the NBL, where there is a game with scores in the 60s, the comment will be "ah the standard of the NBL is poor, look how low the scoring is, much lower than NBA etc etc"

An attitude thing of the Australian sporting public?

Reply #522021 | Report this post

Years ago

Georgia State upset Xavier?

You must have inside information because they don't even play each other until the next round.

Reply #522023 | Report this post

Years ago

I think people in the NBL need to stop worrying about America and try and create a league for Australian fans. We love the faster, up tempo, high scoring game.

I know its way out there but could the NBL switch to a completely new format and go the way of thirds haha?

3 x 15 minute thirds would be an interesting watch, no long half time but instead two shorter breaks of about 10 minutes each third.

Reduce time outs to one per third would be a good step too. Keep the flow going.

It sounds weird but it would work in so many ways. TV could remain in a two hour time slot whilst the fans get 5 extra minutes of Basketball.

Reply #522026 | Report this post

Years ago

40 minutes of basketball and 16 minutes of breaks comes in just short of two hours. How is 45 minutes of basketball and 20 minutes of breaks going to fit?

Reply #522029 | Report this post

Years ago

NCAA = $$$$

NBL = #%?

Reply #522030 | Report this post

A. Bitoni Fan  
Years ago

Quote: "Georgia State upset Xavier?

You must have inside information because they don't even play each other until the next round."

Oops, got my names mixed up, they upset Baylor in the first match.

You knew what I meant :P

Reply #522032 | Report this post

Years ago

Yeah I knew what you meant :)

Either that or I was going to ask you for some help with my bracket!

Reply #522036 | Report this post

Years ago

300M people v 21 M.

Basketball part of American culture, we already have AFL, rugby and cricket.

The whole collage system and generations of student allegiance.

The NBL is a completely different beast. Apart from the actual sport being played.

Add to this the fact that Aus is an outdoors country, its snowing most of the time bball is played in the US and Europe.

Here's a wild thought, some outdoors feature matches... Allstar weekend and some regular season fixtures.

Reply #522042 | Report this post

Big boy  
Years ago

Once in a lifetime tournament is the difference every game every minute matters as it will not happen again apart from the history and culture of the event

Reply #522044 | Report this post

A. Bitoni Fan  
Years ago

Interesting point re: the weather. I know many have scoffed at moving back to Winter because it would be in direct competition with the AFL/Rugby, but perhaps Jono's point is valid? After all, the NBL did have it's glory years in winter...

Reply #522045 | Report this post

Years ago

As Jono said, most ex-students have an almost fanatical loyalty to their 'alma mater'. You just need to see the fan support for the St Mary's Gaels, for example.

There's also a lot more tradition around going to basketball and family allegiance to playing & watching basketball, sort of like we had with VFL up until it went AFL.

As a result, so much more money flooding into the university system, strong sports departments in most universities, and coaches appointed for life almost (even if they lose).

Teams also have time to build up a loyal fan base because players almost always stay with the team for four years, so fans learn to identify them and 'bond' with them.

One thing I noticed - there's a lot less bitching to the refs in NCAA, and a lot less tolerance for it. Over here, every miss or bump or turnover seems to need a ref to blame - it's never the player's fault. Maybe it's because they're playing for their jobs, whereas in the NCAA they're just playing for a few extra minutes.

Imagine a stable NBL where teams didn't die and coaches weren't turfed for losing a few matches, players stayed with their teams for four years, the venues were great, loyal fans kept coming for years on end because the game was fun to watch and occasionally amazing, players were optimistic and did their best (instead of being moody ass-holes constantly complaining to the refs), and nobody mucked around with the format and the rules and stuff.

Reply #522114 | Report this post

Years ago

Well said Hoopie couldn't argee more.

Something could also be said for creating good sporting formats for betting markets.

Melbourne Cup is a classic for getting a whole bunch of people interested in horse racing for one day a year. Why? melbourne cup sweeps and betting.

NCAA has bracketology, all over the country people fill out brackets in offices etc.

Adding a suitable betting format for the NBL, even just for the finals series could be an exploitable opportunity not currently being undertaken.

One thing we do know about the australian population, we love a good punt!

Reply #522162 | Report this post


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