Sportswriters We Hate is a series in which we mock some of today’s prominent sports writers, talking heads, radio hosts and whatever Darren Rovell is considered. We get rather annoyed with these guys’ articles and tweets, and what better way to solve that than to mock them endlessly.
Who do we hate today?
Jemele Hill is a writer and talking head for ESPN. She can be seen on First Take, Around the Horn and The Sports Reporters, as well as a sideline reporter for weeknight college football games. She is similar to Skip Bayless in that she makes a name for herself by talking about controversial topics or taking unpopular stances. She gained notoriety by saying that rooting for the Boston Celtics was like rooting for Adolf Hitler and compared John Calipari to Charles Manson. Nice.
Jemele finds her way into Sportswriters We Hate thanks to her latest column, which is essentially a rant about why college basketball is no good. The following is a rant from me about why Jemele Hill is no good.
If you haven’t watched a men’s college basketball game lately, this is pretty much how it goes: Bad offense disguised as good defense. No flow. And scores that hover in the 50s.
If you haven’t watched a men’s college basketball game lately, OF COURSE you would be reading a Jemele Hill column about it. Of course you would.
If you’re lucky.
My luck ran out when I clicked on the link to this story.
Seriously, college basketball has been bad this season. And because the NCAA tournament is such a good postseason setup, college basketball inevitably will get a pass, despite being largely unwatchable.
You know what’s largely unwatchable? Your appearances on Around the Horn.
Ben McLemore, who has been mentioned as a potential No. 1 overall pick in the NBA draft, shot 6-of-16 in a loss to TCU and missed all six of his 3-point attempts.
Your example of bad basketball is a game where a good player scored 15 points.
There aren’t any dominant teams, which is evidenced by the fact that there seems to be a new No. 1 team every other day. There also aren’t any real stars.
There were 5 teams ranked No. 1 this season, over a 20 week span. What’s good about a team never losing? And there aren’t any real stars because you started watching college basketball last week and asked, “where’s Anthony Davis?”
That wouldn’t be so daunting if the product itself weren’t so bad. Sure, there have been some good games this season — and Indiana has, for the most part, been consistently entertaining — but those games seem like an anomaly.
I seem to remember there being upsets over Top 5 teams 20 times. SUPER BORING games though. Nothing to see here.
Most college basketball fans can’t objectively criticize the game because they can’t separate the emotional connection they have to their school. They can’t understand that loving the NCAA tournament and the survive-and-advance construct has nothing to do with whether good basketball actually is being played.
So, you can’t be objective about a sport you love? “College basketball is bad and I can say that BECAUSE I hate it.” Soccer is the worst sport in the world and that is undeniable fact because I think soccer sucks. LOGIC!
If you think I’m being too hard on college basketball, let me warn you that the statistics are on my side. Last season, scoring in college basketball hit the historical bottom. The 68 points per game averaged by Division I teams was the lowest output since 1982 (and second-lowest since 1952), when there wasn’t a shot clock or a 3-point line. And as of now, college basketball is on pace to set a new low.
Here is one statistic that backs up my point. It is the only statistic you need. Do not research this yourself. Please.
Ignore that ESPN had its highest rated college basketball season ever. Still sucks.
There have been a lot of college basketball games this season that were real stinkers. For example:
• In November, Georgetown beat Tennessee 37-36. The halftime score was 18-16. The teams combined to shoot 34 percent. Middle-school games offer more scoring than that.
Then go cover middle-school basketball and leave us alone.
• Northern Illinois scored five points in the first half against Dayton in December. A month later, the Huskies broke their newly designated NCAA record for lowest score in a half with a four-point first half against Eastern Michigan and still only trailed by 14. Northern Illinois (5-25) cemented itself as being good at being bad.
That’s not bad, that’s hilarious.
• In February, coach Bill Self called his Jayhawks “the worst team Kansas has ever put on the floor since Dr. Naismith was here,” after the Jayhawks scored a pitiful 13 points in the first half against TCU in what eventually became a 62-55 defeat. At the time, TCU was in last place in the Big 12 (the Horned Frogs finished 2-16 in conference play). Needless to say, the inventor of the game was not smiling down from basketball heaven.
Let’s s*** on the kids at TCU some more.
Your first halves are making Jemele sad, college hoops. Fix it!
This is supposed to be better than the NBA?
Who is arguing that the quality of college basketball is better than the NBA. Skip Bayless wouldn’t even take that stand.
It’s not just about scoring. Try to name a player, a star, a kid you’d stop everything to watch play. It says something that Kentucky’s Nerlens Noel still might be the top pick in the NBA draft, despite suffering a season-ending ACL injury Feb. 12.
Baye f***ing Keita. That’s who.
A lot of people — college coaches, pundits and fans — believe the sole reason college basketball is declining is because of the one-and-done rule.
That certainly has had an effect. The best players not sticking around college long enough has watered down the game.
But that still doesn’t explain why some of the players who remain seem so limited.
You went to the Brent Axe School of One Sentence Paragraphs.
I put some of the blame on coaches. They have become the stars of the game because so many kids leave college early. As a result, many of these coaches seem hell-bent on sucking the life out of the game to justify their status and exorbitant salaries.
“Coaches keep their hands on the steering wheel way too much in basketball,” CBS college basketball analyst Clark Kellogg told reporters at CBS’ pre-NCAA tournament media day last week. “And it’s not just in the game, I think it’s overall. The ability to have kids in summer school now that are on scholarship, and the offseason workouts, there’s too much hand-holding under the guise of doing what’s best for the kids. And that transitions into the game.”
Clark Kellogg just screams nonsense.
Georgetown wasn’t the only high tournament seed that had a really poor offensive performance this season.
Some have proposed that the shot clock needs to be shortened, and that referees need to be held more accountable for poor officiating. Some coaches also have theorized that technology has improved scouting to such a degree that defenses are further along than offenses.
My theory? Robots.
The rules of the game don’t need to change. However, maybe the players do. ESPN college basketball analyst Jay Williams was a guest on my weekly podcast with “Numbers Never Lie” co-host Michael Smith and I asked Williams bluntly, “Why does college basketball stink?”
That’s quite a brain trust you got on that podcast.
Williams’ answer was surprising, only because he didn’t feel obligated to make excuses for a game he obviously loves.
Jay’s answer was “provolone.” Then quickly realized Jemele asked why does college basketball stink, not what is his favorite cheese. Jay Williams is not a bright man.
“Players don’t want to work hard anymore,” Williams said, and he launched into a story about how an unnamed West Coast college basketball player bragged to him that he was going to “torch cats” in the NCAAs. So far, that player has done very little.
He wants to torch cats? Give me his name right now! This player needs to be in federal prison. NOBODY IS TORCHING CATS ON MY WATCH!
Also, why the f— are college basketball players talking to Jay Williams?
I have no doubt that college basketball is full of players who think they are better than they are. Clearly they aren’t watching the same game I am.
Jemele, you’re not watching the game. You’re making sweeping generalizations about 10% of the college basketball season. Sure, the talent level is down, but that doesn’t mean it’s not fun to watch. But definitely keep trolling college basketball players.
And an exciting tournament won’t make up for a season that overall hasn’t been worth watching.