March Madness has arrived for college basketball fans. For most fans this is really the only time of the year that the fans pay close attention to college basketball. What does the average college basketball fans want to see when they watch the tournament games? The fans want to see the blue bloods of the sport. Period.
Make no mistake though, all fans enjoy the Cinderella story that happen in the first couple of rounds. The East Tennessee, George Mason, and Iona runs that can occur from time to time gets ratings. It may bring a few more fans into the viewing for CBS during the tournament, but it doesn’t sustain ratings in the long term.
You know what does? Everybody knows what gets the viewership up for The Big Dance.
The college basketball Blue Bloods are what college basketball is all about during the NCAA Tournament.
Teams like North Carolina, Duke, UCLA, Kentucky, and Michigan State are what bring fans to the arena’s and to their television sets. Fans and media alike, want the big match-ups down the stretch of the tournament.
Personally, I am more likely to watch a Kentucky/Duke match-up than some lower-seeded team against a one or two seeded team. The interest just isn’t there for me. I’m not the only person who believes this.
The ratings go way up when you have a North Carolina/Arizona match-up. We all know this. However, this constant chatter of the whole underdog thing gets a bit tiring after a while. Bring on the big boys.
A UCLA/Iona game is going to put fans to sleep if that was game in the later rounds. Fans would assume the Bruins win going away. There are too many other options for fans to choose from if the interest isn’t there. I don’t even know if I would watch that kind of game if it was on during the tournament.
Seriously, I want the big programs taking on other big programs. It creates interest for me and most other college basketball fans. The smaller schools don’t produce the kind of interest for me at all. If this type of thing doesn’t do it for you, good for you. You are in the minority.
The exception might be Gonzaga. The Zags have been around for a while and have had success in the NCAA Tournament. The Bulldogs have been ranked number one for a good portion of the year, but I would still watch a Michigan State/North Carolina game before I watch any game with Gonzaga in it. I don’t trust the Zags to go to a Final Four yet anyways. The competition that the Bulldogs get during the year doesn’t make me say “that team has been through the gauntlet of teams”.
There might be some people who would consider Gonzaga winning the National Championship a Cinderella Story. I might.
Like I stated earlier, this country loves to root for Cinderella, but that really doesn’t matter. Fans are going to watch the big programs because you want to see Lonzo Ball handle the ball, you want to see Malik Monk drop the three ball for Kentucky, or you want to see if the hated Duke Blue Devils make a run to another title and expand their “most hated program” brand to other fans.
The NCAA wants a ton of interest in the Final Four, they want massive ticket sales, and they want eyes on the television during the tournament.
To achieve the money goals that the NCAA wants to achieve, the Blue Bloods of the sport need to lead the way every year. The small schools are not going to bring in the money. They just don’t.
I am not some hater on the smaller schools, but there is a reality that most fans don’t want to admit to and that reality is that the big college basketball programs run the show in the NCAA Tournament. Cinderella’s slipper doesn’t fit her when it comes to The Big Dance.