Sad but true, college's best basketball games are played off campus

The tropics, troops in Germany — even retired aircraft carriers — host some of the better matchups of the young season. Then again, college basketball does play second fiddle to football.
by Berry Tramel Published: November 15, 2012
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photo - NC State’s C.J. Leslie, center, goes up for a shot against Penn State’s Jermaine Marshall, left, and Brandon Taylor during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Bayamon, Puerto Rico, Thursday, Nov. 15, 2012. (AP Photo/Ricardo Arduengo)
NC State’s C.J. Leslie, center, goes up for a shot against Penn State’s Jermaine Marshall, left, and Brandon Taylor during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Bayamon, Puerto Rico, Thursday, Nov. 15, 2012. (AP Photo/Ricardo Arduengo)

Why such goodwill for Orlando, where the Sooners play next week along with Gonzaga, West Virginia, Clemson, Vanderbilt, Davidson and Texas-El Paso?

Why not go to Gonzaga and play Vanderbilt in Norman?

These NCAA-sponsored exempt tournaments allow teams to play extra games, which is a goofy rule. Set the number of games and stick with it, whether you're playing on land, sea or air.

These tournaments are made possible because major-conference teams won't schedule home-and-home series with the likes of Southern Illinois and St. Mary's.

So the destination sites thrive. Cancun: DePaul, Iowa, Wichita State, Western Kentucky. The Bahamas: Duke, Memphis, Missouri, Louisville, Stanford, Virginia Commonwealth, Minnesota, Northern Iowa).

The Virgin Islands: Wake Forest, Connecticut. Las Vegas: Arkansas, Arizona State, Creighton, Wisconsin.

And Brooklyn. Forget Allen Fieldhouse or Cameron Indoor. College hoops' new Mecca is the just-opened Barclays Center, which before New Year's will have hosted Maryland-Kentucky, Notre Dame-St. Joseph's, BYU-Florida State, Georgetown, Indiana, UCLA, Georgia, Michigan, West Virginia, Fordham, Princeton, Long Island, Seton Hall, Manhattan and South Carolina.

The old Mecca, Madison Square Garden, hosts Alabama-Oregon State, Villanova-Purdue, Texas-Georgetown, UConn-North Carolina State, Syracuse-Temple, Michigan, Pitt, Kansas State and Virginia.

We can go forever. The Great Alaska Shootout, Anaheim, multiple tournaments in Hawaii.

These events are endless and suck the soul from college basketball.

It's time to get good games back to campus, where they belong.

Berry Tramel: Berry can be reached at (405) 760-8080 or at btramel@opubco.com. He can be heard Monday through Friday from 4:40-5:20 p.m. on The Sports Animal radio network, including FM-98.1. You can also view his personality page at newsok.com/berrytramel.


by Berry Tramel
Columnist
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,...
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