Are they exploitative of the athletes? Potentially 4 games in four days right in the middle of the term. Of course the athletes are "exploited" to an extent, though the return of a free college education is the other side of an argument that has been gone over. I just think the conference tournaments are a big money grab for the schools and the networks. I don't see how there's any other way to see it. Yeah, these kids are sled dogs and if you ask them to pull, they'll pull. But wow. It's entertainment for us, and I don't see how it benefits the players who have already been at this for months. Sure, some teams can get hot and get in. What was the season for?
It's even worse for the smaller conferences. My local college team plays in a very minor D1 conference. In almost every year, except one or two over the last 15, the only team that makes the NCAA is the tournament champion, thereby relegating the regular season meaningless. This year the team that dominated the conference all year was upset in their tournament. Season over. Injustice.
Now, the timeouts. It is covered also in a topic down on mglicious below, but I think there is a wider council in the forum so I revisit it.
I went to see said local college team play a few times this season. They are mediocre, struggle badly for attendance, and are unable to put on much of a show during the constant and long timeout breaks. You almost pray for a non-close game because you know there are going to be 8 to 10 timeouts in the last three minutes alone. A timeout is a painful development. You find yourself rolling your eyes and contemplating leaving no matter how good the game is. Basketball is about flow, build-up, back and forth, a rising crescendo of emotion. The timeouts kill it.
It happens in football too, to an extent. Do we wonder why even a powerhouse like Michigan cannot get students to their football games. Its becoming a TV show, on a huge HD set, with cheap beer in the fridge, for FREE. Play the fucking games. Let real be real.