This week there was a huge shakedown with scheduling for this upcoming college basketball season when Indiana & UNC announced they both would not be scheduling to play their traditional home-and-home seasonal games against Kentucky. This news really started to make me think. Why does the NCAA allow schools to make their own schedules?
Now, the no UNC-UK game is a case of both schools not really communicating with each other. However, the IU-UK conflict is a case of Kentucky Coach John Calipari not wanting to play Indiana in Indiana with the Hoosiers the clear favorites to win the National Championship. Coach Cal claims he didn’t agree to a new contract with Indiana because he wants to play at a neutral location. But again as I said, in other words, he is scared of having to play the favorites to win the National Championship this year, Indiana, at Indiana. I guess Coach Cal deep down knows inside that experience is better than his highly skilled one and dones!
This tale reminds me of familiar story that seems to come around Durham, North Carolina every so often. Do you remember the series of games Duke and Arizona played in the early 90s where ‘Zona dominated Duke for several seasons in a row? Well when it came time to renew the contracts, Coach K went crying to move the game to a neutral location. Coach K recommended a site in New Jersey, which we all know from experience is also known as “Durham, New Jersey” because of the big Duke fan base their too. Coach Olson recommended playing in Phoenix or Anaheim. Of couse neither coach were happy with each other’s recommendation. Thus, because Coach K was tired of losing to Arizona at Arizona, and a fair neutral location couldn’t be found, the Duke-Arizona home-and-home series ended.
However I have a suggestion for the NCAA: You make the schedules, not the schools. Fans want to see their teams win, so therefore every team plays their share of easy games. Fans also want to see their teams beat the best of the best in the regular season too, so therefore if their gutsy enough, schools play anywhere from 2-4 games against a top 25 ranked school. If the NCAA schedules the games we could see even more than 2 or 3 highly anticipated games between ranked schools. However it seems, some coaches are taking advantage and trying to find their way out having to play against a challenging school. Basically, give the fans what they want instead of letting the schools get what they want!
But just like their are pro’s and con’s for letting schools schedule their games, there are also cons for letting the NCAA create the schedule. That being that many fans are not happy with the seeding of the NCAA Tournament. Many fans feel that some teams are given an unfair and undeserving high seed. Some fans also feel that some schools are placed into regions that have easy brackets. So if the NCAA can’t get it right with the tournament, what makes us think they can get it right with the schedules?
How should the scheduling conflict be handled and/or improved? Let us know in the comments!