SCREAMIN’ FROM THE CHEAP SEATS – JANUARY 25
By Leo Haggerty

IT AIN’T LOOKIN’ GOOD

College basketball continues to struggle with their attempts to play during the pandemic.  Frankly, unless there’s some quick reversals with teams having to either cancel or postpone contests due to Covid, I don’t see how the NCAA can effectively run any post season tournaments.  March Madness could very easily turn into March Sadness for the second straight year.

Why do I put forth this prophesy of gloom and doom?  Let’s just take a look at the men’s games that couldn’t be played just last weekend.

On Friday night, eight games were cancelled.  That was followed by 21 contests that were not played on Saturday.  Finally, another dozen were eliminated on Sunday.

So, let’s do the math.  Just over the last three day weekend, 41 games were not played which adds up to 82 teams were sidelined.

If we stay close to home and just examine the University of South Florida hoops program.  The last game the Bulls played was a 69-63 road win against East Carolina on January 9th.  The next five contest have already been nixed and the next tentatively schedule tilt is not until February 10th at Houston.

The USF women’s team is not fairing any better but let’s start with the good news.  The last game they played was a 73-52 road triumph at Tulane on January 13th.  That advanced their record to 10-1 with the Green & Gold’s ninth consecutive victory.

Now for the bad news.  The next six games will not be played with South Florida hoping to play at Central Florida on February 7th.

That’s almost a month for both programs being on hiatus.  The problem is that a good many other collegiate roundball programs throughout the nation are going through the same type of scenario.

There’s a bigger problem.  I foresee the NCAA having a difficult time not only putting on March Madness but getting to March Madness.  Some conferences may choose to shut down their tournaments or some programs may choose to simply not send a team.  The NCAA could be extremely hard pressed to find 60 plus teams on the men’s and women’s side just to fill out the brackets regardless of records.

Obviously, the powers that be learned nothing from the football season.  We all remember how, just to fill out a bowl schedule, there were teams with two or three wins invited just so they could play the game.

Memo to the NCAA.  You need to start planning for a watered down tournament or, even worst, having to shut March Madness down for the second consecutive year due to a lack of quality teams, or just any teams, available to play.

Just typing those two statements make my physically ill.  This time, I truly hope I’m wrong.