THE SPORT OF college basketball is now a dumpster fire. The smoke can be seen rising over Los Angeles and Memphis and Bloomington, over Durham and Chapel Hill and even Lexington. At the highest levels, the game has devolved into a mere showcase for its top players, whose coaches allow them the freedom to display their individual awesomeness at the expense of the team. And I realize this makes me sound a bit like a right-winger, but the sport suffers from a crippling culture of entitlement that begins when players are barely out of grade school. That’s because college basketball’s values are now relentlessly commercial. The game has become an ersatz version of the NBA, professionalized for all the wrong reasons.
I grew up loving this game. Everything else in my life might come and go—a wife, girlfriends, jobs—but college basketball (specifically University of North Carolina basketball) has remained a constant, like something out of nature. Every winter, it returned and lasted into the spring, and it seemed like it would go on like this forever.