Chicago hosts the Great Eight Classic

By The Columbia Chronicle

classic (klas`ik) adj. 1. being an excellent model of its kind 2. famous as traditional or typical 3. classical

OK, with that in mind how does it apply to the Great Eight Classic men’s basketball tournament? The answer is, it doesn’t. I think the NCAA needs to take a long hard look at what they are calling a classic tournament.

As most college basketball critics and fans would agree, the recent two day tournament at the United Center was nothing more than a social gathering for corporate America.

Since when is the standard dress code for a college basketball game a double breasted suit or shirt and tie, I must have missed something. A 1960s Corvette is a classic, The “Wizard of Oz” is a classic. The Great Eight tournament is more like “Showgirls” or a late ‘80s Yugo. College hoops provides one of the highest forms of excitement and entertainment in all of sports.

The problem is that the United Center just isn’t fit for this type of event. It’s an NBA arena, not a college field house. Proponents of the idea argue in favor of a neutral site, I’m not buying that. Play the games where they are meant to be played. There is nothing better than college basketball at Duke University or at the University of North Carolina. It’s places like these where true fans, the students, add the final ingredient to the recipe of college basketball.

Eight of the nations best teams were supposedly here, but judgin from their play it looked as if the circus was back in town. May-be it was because they were put on a court-turned-ESPN-studio.

College basketball is not supposed to be a made-for-TV special. It is however, supposed to be about team loyalty, face paint, and mascots running around wildly. Pompons and sponge fingers were replaced with cell phones and lap-tops. The players themselves have said that the fan’s energy and enthusiasm helps to bring out the best of their abilities.

How are they supposed to feed off of the crowd’s energy when the crowd is busy completing business transactions? Looking around the stands you could see the NBA faces of Tim Floyd, Jerry Krause, George Karl, and Danny Ainge, just another desperate ploy by the NBA to remind us of what were missing.

Unfortunately for basketball fans, the college game is all the sport has to offer, thanks to the NBA lockout. In what could possibly college basketball’s most opportunistic time to shine, rain came pouring down on a disappointing Great Eight tournament.