The annual NBA trade deadline this year was March 15th.
The very same day as the generally-understood tipoff of March Madness office pools nationwide.
Side note: Nobody will ever get used to calling the Tuesday and Wednesday play-in games as “first round” or “First Four”. How come there are 8 teams involved with the “First Four”, but there are only 4 teams involved in the “Final Four”???
Perhaps we should declare some executives at the NCAA and CBS as “academically ineligible” if they can’t figure out the simple math to that one!!!
Anyway, since the NBA trade deadline and the tip off to the NCAA men’s basketball tournament fell on the same day, it had me wondering: What if the NCAA had its own trade deadline before the start of the actual men’s basketball tournament?
Now, THAT would put the madness in “March Madness”!
Let’s see, both the National Football League…
and Major League Baseball…
…have their own trade deadlines.
The NFL trade deadline is usually fairly quiet; for example, in October 2011, there were only three deadline trades involving Carson Palmer, Brandon Lloyd, and Ronnie Brown. Neither trade had any real impact on the playoff race.
On the otherhand, in-season baseball trades have a more significant effect on the playoffs.
MLB has two different trade deadlines during the baseball season. There’s usually one toward the end of July: the non-waiver trade deadline. And then, just a few weeks before the playoffs begin, there’s another one around the end of August: the waiver trade deadline.
So, what’s the big difference between the two baseball trade deadlines?
I always said, that if I found a pretty girl who could explain the difference, then I’d marry her. (Of course, I also say the same thing if I could find a pretty girl who knows the entire words to the Schoolhouse Rock jingle for “Verb: That’s What’s Happening!”)
Last time I checked, I’m still not married in all 50 U.S. states and Puerto Rico.
So how do you think the NCAA tournament could be enhanced by pre-tournament trades? (I was thinking about this late Tuesday night as I conducted my annual thorough statistical research and completed all ten allowable entries to ESPN’s “Tournament Challenge” online.)
You know what I mean.
You may look at one team and think, “Syracuse is now one starting center away from being an unbeatable zone defense team.”
Or “if Missouri had just one solid back-up post player, they could really have the eye of the tiger!”
And then you look at Flaming Bag of Poo’s beloved UCLA Bruins, who couldn’t even get an invitation to the NIT Tournament this season after finishing tied for fifth in the Pac-less 12.
It probably doesn’t help that UCLA had publicly admitted that your school lost its previous NIT championship banner after it was removed from the rafters in favor of an NCAA championship banner.
It’s like saying that you have a mad crush for a hometown sweetheart, but your Facebook profile photo boasts the drunk chick that you hooked up with down at Lake Havasu.
But suppose, right before the conference tournaments, NCAA teams were given the option to trade players like they do in the NBA, NFL and MLB?!?!?
This conversation happened recently among to prominent college athletic directors.
UCLA A.D.: Hey, Orange A.D., I have 300-plus pounds of center Josh Smith that I can let you have so I can free up a scholarship spot. Josh is so huge, the only way that I’m going to move him will be if I trade him to another team. Goodness knows, he won’t leave this season for the NBA and go undrafted after his sophomore season.
Syracuse A.D.: Well, Josh Smith doesn’t sound nearly as cool as Fab Melo. But next week, I’ll have to declare Fab academically ineligible because he failed a bellhop class at our hotel management school. What are you looking for?
Yup, think about. Coaches and A.D.’s can unload their problem children to help fill immediate holes in someone else’s pre-tournament line-up. We’re not talking about player transfers. We’re talking about player dumping. In amateur sports with a fixed number of available scholarship spots, it’s just like salary dumping. You see that in the NBA all the time. (Just ask Luke Walton—currently stuck in some middle seat on Southwest Airlines headed to Cleveland.)
The hell with parity! Because most championship teams don’t keep their team intact from start to finish.
Let’s see which NCAA teams can work deals like the New York Yankees. Instead of a minor league farm system, NCAA basketball teams can just lean on their recruiting.
Who did you pick for the Final Four in your office tournament pool?
Now think about what one player currently NOT dancing in the tournament who could enhance your picks’ chances if they traded away future rights to players? 70% of the Pac-12’s All-Conference Team is available since none of them made the real March Madness tournament!
Next year, before you complete your tournament brackets, “Let’s Make a Deal!”