This is what the gladiators said to Caesar before fighting to the death. Now we have March madness. These morbid thoughts are brought about about by thought of another Ivy League champ playing the scholars of Kentucky. Last year Cornell got creamed by them, and, according to my son who went there, one of the Freshman players from that Kentucky team is now doing quite well in the NBA, thank you.
Last Sunday’s New York Times magazine had an article worrying if big time college basketball was dying, because their best players left after a year to join the NBA. Not to worry, their sports section that day covered the Ivy league playoff between Princeton and Harvard, calling it (accurately) an Ivy League Thriller. I watched it, having been associated with both schools in the remote past. When the largest lead is under 10 and when it changes hands 3 times in the final sixty seconds, with the winning shot released with 200 milliSeconds to go, that’s a fair description.
The game was hard played, but without coaching histrionics, technical fouls, etc. etc. No player will is likely to go to the NBA, but all are likely to graduate, and have a life thereafter. As one of the Princeton players said “we love the game as much as anyone”. Basketball will survive the demise of big time college basketball, even if the fans don’t. It’s a great game. Needless to say basketball has changed. My father (Rutgers ’28) told me, that coaches would chew him out for shooting one handed.
Historical note: the picture of the Princeton band in the Sunday Times have them looking just as dorky as when I was in it. However, they do sound a lot better. Don't snicker too much, one of our trumpet players later became president of the university of Chicago.
One hopeful note for the Ivies. The Princeton coach, Sydney Johnson, played on the Princeton team that defeated UCLA (the previous year’s champ), so you never know.