Friday, April 22, 2011

Party might be over for mid-majors

The party might be ending just as Cinderella is arriving at the ball.

One of the factors that allowed Butler and Virginia Commonwealth to advance to the Final Four the past two seasons is the turnover created by the NBA age minimum.

Traditional powers that take on one-and-done players have to remake their teams almost every season. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't.

With the issue likely to be negotiated in the NBA collective-bargaining talks this summer, big-time college teams could be able put some distance between themselves and the mid-majors again.

Even with the current rule, schools such as Ohio State and North Carolina have the rare luxury of a lottery-caliber player returning. Jared Sullinger will be back in the middle for the Buckeyes, and Harrison Barnes will return to the Tar Heels.

Those are the kinds of players mid-majors have trouble competing with - recruiting them or on the court.

If the NBA amends its age minimum, it will most likely result in players who choose to go to college staying longer. That's good new for the power-conference teams because they'll benefit the most.

- Howard Primer


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