Four Reasons Why Tar Heel basketball fans should watch the NBA Playoffs


Apr 8, 2014; Minneapolis, MN, USA; San Antonio Spurs guard Danny Green (4) dribbles in the fourth quarter against the Minnesota Timberwolves forward Robbie Hummel (6) at Target Center. The Minnesota Timberwolves win 110-91. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

Now that the college basketball and football seasons are over, some college sports fans are having a hard time finding any sports to watch on TV. While some fans have headed out to the ballpark to watch their favorite college baseball teams on the diamond, others are stuck reading Early Top-25 ranks for college football next season while endlessly googling “How many days until the first day of college football season?” 

The NBA playoffs are also going on right now, but sometimes college basketball fans are reluctant to give the NBA playoffs a watch in April and May. NBA players don’t play defense, a skeptical college basketball fan might say in defense of not watching, or NBA players don’t care about actually winning like college players do in March Madness. But those skipping over the NBA playoffs in the spring months are missing out. Here are four reasons why Tar Heel basketball fans should give the NBA playoffs a watch.

Faster pace of games

One of the biggest differences between NCAA and NBA basketball is the difference in the shot clock. Tar Heels have 35 seconds to shoot on a possession, while NBA pros have only 24 seconds. This small difference of 11 seconds makes all the difference during the games. The faster shot clock in the NBA leads to more possessions and less waiting and dribbling by guards at the top of the key. In crunch time, with the game on the line, the NBA game is more exciting because the ball might change hands three or four times in the final 70 seconds of the game, compared to just twice in the college game.

Watching former Tar Heels again

The NBA playoff rosters are littered with talented former Tar Heels who are making their marks in the pros. You might remember Danny Green, who is now lighting it up in San Antonio for the Spurs. The Spurs are playing the Dallas Mavericks in Round One of the playoffs this week. Speaking of Dallas, they have three former Tar Heels on the roster in Vince Carter, Brandon Wright and Wayne Ellington. Who remembers Ed Davis, now playing out in Memphis with the Grizzlies? And everyone remembers Tyler Hansbrough, who is now up in Toronto playing for the Raptors. The NBA playoffs is a great time to reunite with a former Tar Heel and to cheer him on throughout his team’s quest for the Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy.

Seeing the big time stars at their best

While there are no Jackson Simmons, king of hustle, in the NBA playoffs, stars still come out and put on a great show. Getting to watch the pure talent that NBA All-Stars like LeBron James and Kevin Durant is in itself worthy of a watch. You won’t see this level of shotmaking and talent in March…

You also won’t see this kind of athleticism and dunking in college from anyone besides J.P. Tokoto…

Sidenote- Doesn’t the OKC Thunder’s stripeout remind you of UNC’s stripeout against Pitt earlier this year? Did they steal our idea?

Seven game series

In the NBA playoffs, both teams play a seven game series against each other to decide the winner. This is markedly different than March Madness, a single elimination tournament in which one bad shooting night from your star could send you home. In the NBA playoffs, the best team almost always wins because the cream of the crop rises to the top over the course of seven games. Yes, its fun to watch lower seeded teams get hot in the second half and beat a higher seed, but its also fun to see the two best teams in the championship.

Overall, the NBA playoffs have a different feel to them than March Madness does. There are no bands, no student sections and no #14 Mercer over #3 Duke upsets. But there is still a lot to enjoy about the NBA’s second season even as a college basketball fan.