BOSTON (CBS) – March Madness is underway!
Here in this region mostly everyone has probably filled out a bracket, but college basketball just does not resonate locally as much as it used to.
Why is that?
Basketball in Massachusetts reached its peak in the mid-1990’s with John Calipari’s UMass Minutemen making the Final Four. Could it ever get back to being that popular?
“Yeah, you’re not going to see that again if you want my honest opinion,” 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Tony Massarotti said Thursday afternoon. “[UMass] had a nice run there for a few years, but you’re not going to see that again.”
Occasionally a local team will get good and make a run, and we’ll all pay attention, but in terms of the sport of college basketball itself and long term sustainability, Mazz just doesn’t see it happening.
Adam Jones on the other hand is more optimistic, but feels like it has to be the right school.
“I didn’t grow up as a UMass fan, but when their teams were doing well and recruited talented players they were worth watching because they were a threat to make the Final Four,” said Jones. “I would hop on the UMass bandwagon, but I don’t know that people would do that for Boston College. I think people hate BC.”
Mazz adds that for a school like Boston College to become a basketball powerhouse, they would need to lower their academic standards and stop considering themselves the Notre Dame of the East.
“It’s a decision every major school in America has to make,” said Mazz.
Big Jim Murray makes a good point in that college basketball is just not as ingrained in the culture here in the same way the Red Sox, Patriots, Bruins and Celtics are.
“It’s never going to be Tobacco Road here,” said Murray.
“People here don’t care about the tournament. They care about the bracket, they care about the lines and they care about the gambling aspect,” said Jones. “I wonder if we can get back to Calipari at UMass in the 1990s. What ingredients would it take?”
Listen below for the full discussion: