Bernucca: You Can Have the NCAA Tournament

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sportsWICHITAstate_t640I don’t like the NCAA Tournament.

I don’t like that college basketball’s regular season provides little postseason incentive. I don’t like that the coach is a bigger personality than the players. I don’t like that the games are played on neutral courts. I don’t like that one bad game or bad call or bad break can end a team’s season. I don’t like that “close” becomes a synonym for “well-played.” And I don’t like that poor play determines the outcome much more often than great play.

Most of all, I don’t like how I’m supposed to just accept that it’s fantastic and wonderful and beautiful, when it’s actually substandard basketball in a flawed format that tells me less and less every year about the game I love, which is the NBA.

I’m not trolling here. As anyone who knows me will tell you, I’ve truly felt this way for a while. Part of it is admittedly a lingering distaste developed over more than a decade of working on a sports news desk and spending countless hours having to plan, preview, write, edit, update and package all of the words and numbers associated with the NCAA Tournament.

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SH Blog: Pacers sign Andrew Bynum; Bennett wouldn’t mind a D-League assignment

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Right now, the whole basketball-watching world is in Bash the Cavs mode. They took Anthony Bennett #1 overall, and for the production he’s given them, they might as well have taken Nerlens Noel. Kyrie Irving, depending on who you want to believe, either can’t wait to get out or just hasn’t made that decision yet. Dion Waiters went at #4 last year and this year he’s been linked with every team needing help at shooting guard. Tristan Thompson changed his shooting hand.

Sixth Man Rankings: Markieff Morris is forcing his way into the conversation

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Markieff  & Marcus Morris Suns After starting off the season atop the Sixth Man Rankings and quickly dropping out, Phoenix Suns forward Markieff Morris has climbed his way back into the top spot following consecutive weeks of efficient scoring.

Despite playing the entire month of January without star point guard Eric Bledsoe – out indefinitely due to knee surgery – Phoenix still surprisingly stands seven games above .500. They are currently the seventh seed in a loaded Western Conference.

Coach Jeff Hornacek is in his first year and doesn’t have an All-Star (although Goran Dragic deserves consideration). The Suns are the fourth-least experienced team in the league. Miraculously, they just keep on winning.

Markieff Morris has been a huge reason why.

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Tweet of the Day: Nate Robinson in new “Uncle Drew” commercial

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Nate Robinson as Lights

If you’ve ever played basketball in a recreational setting, whether at the YMCA or the local city park outdoor court, you have probably experienced the inexplicable, near magical quality that old men often display when running the court.

Some old guys have that unstoppable post game, anchored by an unfailing hook shot. Some have that mid-range jumper that never misses. Still, others school young guys in the lost skill of abusing the backboard with that timeless bank shot.

In continuing his part in promoting Pepsi Max, Denver Nuggets guard Nate Robinson—who plays the role of point guard “Lights” in the most recent “Uncle Drew” video alongside Cleveland Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irving—took to twitter to discuss the magical qualities of old men who still play pick-up basketball with his followers.

Evening News: Gortat traded to Wizards, Lowry to wear splint on finger; Hinrich cleared to play

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In today’s NBA news other than the big Wizards-Suns trade, Raptors guard Kyle Lowry will be forced to wear a splint on his left ring finger for about 6 weeks, and Bulls backup point guard Kirk Hinrich has been cleared to return from his concussion.