How the NBA Lockout will affect College Hoops

By Steve Goldberg

Still upset about the NBA lockout? Have no fear, college basketball is here.

After multiple meetings last week, the NBA owners and the NBA players association still could not come to an agreement on a new collective bargaining agreement, putting the 2011-2012 season on life support. Looking for an alternative to watching hockey all winter? College basketball is not a bad option.

Unlike the star-studded NBA, college hoops is at its finest when underdogs upset the powerhouse schools. There is nothing more exciting for a casual fan than watching small schools like Belmont or Iona compete with juggernauts like Duke or Kentucky.

Without the NBA, the league’s fans will inevitably turn to college hoops as a reasonable alternative.  With more college basketball games nationally televised this year, it will be difficult for the NBA to regain its fan base next season. Teams in big markets like Chicago, New York, or Los Angeles should not be affected as much by the lockout as teams in smaller markets like Charlotte, Memphis, or Milwaukee. Fans in these smaller cities located near big-time basketball schools will be more likely to forget about the NBA and become loyal to the NCAA for good.

It will be interesting to see how the NBA recovers from this lockout. The NHL made numerous rule changes after its lockout to make the game more exciting for fans. It took Major League Baseball several years to regain the millions of fans it lost after the league locked out in the middle of the 1994 season. The difference is, MLB and NHL fans had no other source of entertainment in that particular sport. College basketball is an adequate alternative to the NBA, which may cause professional basketball to struggle in the near future.

The future of the NBA and its fans are uncertain, but every basketball fan will turn to college hoops at least for this upcoming season, and college basketball will not disappoint.

Steve Goldberg is a freshman sports journalist at the University of Missouri. You can follow him on Twitter @SG_Mizzou15

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