Remember When Exhibition College Basketball Was Awesome?

Basketball was back in the air in Syracuse last night.

The Orange looked impressive in a 99-63 exhibition win over division 2 Pace University last night. Everything clicked for Syracuse in a game played against an undersized team that went 13-14 last season. Before the anti-Syracuse fans scream from the mountain top about a weak Syracuse schedule and how Jim Boeheim never plays a quality non conference schedule, remember that this is nothing but an exhibition. This is done by every other team in the country, and has absolutely nothing to do with a regular season schedule.

Having said that, there was a time when the exhibition games were awesome before they were ruined by the NCAA.

Shocker, right? The NCAA ruining something that was once fun. Who would have guessed? They took something that was awesome for fans, and made it less fun. Yes the exhibition last night was fun to see the team and watch the blowout, but imagine if exhibitions could be competitive. I know Syracuse lost to Lemoyne in 2010, but aside from that these exhibitions are 25+ point blowouts every game. As a fan, I would love to see good competitive basketball against teams with talent closer to the level of Syracuse in the preseason.

And I have to point only to the 2003-2004 season to prove my point.

The Orangemen were the defending national champions of college basketball. That team had a preseason #7 ranking, and eventually made it to the sweet sixteen before bowing out to Alabama. Most fans will remember the Syracuse dropping their first regular season game of the year to Charlotte at home, but that was not Syracuse’s first loss of the season.

The first loss came to the Harlem Globetrotters.

You heard me right. Although the game was only an exhibition, the Orangemen played the Globetrotters during Harlem’s “three-week, no-nonsense tour against college teams”, where they went to the Carrier Dome and won the game 83-70. This wasn’t the first time Syracuse played a team like the Harlem Globetrotters in an exhibition either. The previous season? Syracuse played team Nike. While I can’t find any articles or statistics from these exhibition teams in the past, I’m fairly confident that you have to have team talent above a division 2 level to play for team Nike. The NCAA has since changed the rules to where the contest has to be between two NCAA teams. It was highly unfortunate when they changed these rules, and NCAA powerhouses across the country have played division two teams ever since.

I realize that once the exhibitions are over nobody cares about them. I also realize that Syracuse still put 7,000+ fans in the stands for the game last night, and that is remarkable. But what do you guys think? Would you like to see the old rules back for exhibition games? Did the NCAA make the right move by changing the rules? Does this help prevent injuries? Leave your comments below, or hit us up on our Facebook page!

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