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Monday, April 18, 2011

NBA Upsets Might Make Series Format Look Good

A rather surprising weekend of NBA basketball to open the playoffs left me with a quick thought about the format of a series versus the one-game rounds of the NCAA Tournament in college hoops. Basketball fans that prefer the college game over the pro version to the point of disliking the pros often cite the upsets in the single-elimination tournament as a reason it is more exciting than NBA playoffs, in which series generally lead to fewer upsets.

Saturday and Sunday might just be days to file in the back of the minds of basketball fans to re-evaluate in June. If the NBA playoffs were single elimination, the Spurs, Lakers, and the Magic, would be done already. The Celtics also came dangerously close to losing, and Oklahoma City was in a tough game as I wrote this post for the morning. Even the Bulls needed a huge fourth quarter to escape Indiana in their first game.

For the sake of argument, let’s say all five teams had lost. In their place, fans would have been left with the Grizzlies, Hornets, Hawks, Knicks, Nuggets, and Pacers, along with the Heat and the Mavericks (who should have lost to the Trailblazers).

I’m clearly stretching to be able to pose the question, but I really wonder how many people would have wanted to watch that playoff. I’ve always been more of an NBA fan than a college fan, though I was swayed toward college during the regular season this year more than at any other time. Normally, the tournament is the thing that gets me to move toward the college game, yet this year’s all-Cinderella game in the one semifinal left something to be desired for me. The title game was also hard to watch.

So, I’m just tossing it out there. If we end up with a great NBA playoff, it might be interesting to consider what we could have been stuck with.

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