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Column of Enchantment: College basketball season is here, RIP Deadspin

The college basketball season is finally here. We can do away with preseason projections, worthless power rankings and spending time on social media arguing about dinosaurs.

Assuming people argue about dinosaurs.

Deadspin is dead. At the time of this writing, its name lives on, but it’s essentially gone the way of the aforementioned dinosaurs. Following serious run-ins with new ownership, the entire staff walked from full-time jobs. This sort of action highlights what made the blog so important to begin with. The staff didn’t just talk about conviction, but acted upon their own at the expense of money.

This worldwide interwebs space is worse off without Deadspin. The industry is full of access merchants, writers who simply glow about everything sportsball related, and there’s nearly zero people to help put them in check. It is why college basketball coaches were, for so long, portrayed as if they were gods.

Deadspin’s part was to knock sportsball folk off their pedestal, allowing for a more balanced outlook on things that weren’t very serious.

However, when things were legit, few outlets did as good a job as Deadspin at making sure it was covered. Laura Wagner, as an example, played the role of media watchdog for the site. She helped in exposing several outlets for their poor practices in how they treated and paid their workers. Other, lesser-than-her media hounds usually just use giant block quotes of other people’s work, then parlaying whatever information into meaningless commentary such as, “there’s still lots of this, and plenty of that, so we’ll see!”

Anywho, there are people far better equipped to talk about Deadspin than this decrepit Internet Scribbler. Speaking only for myself, even if agreeing not everyone had to love what the site had to offer, Deadspin represented what new-media should be. A group of talented writers who, while not worrying about the brand, searched for truth. If finding it, letting people know about it regardless of the potential repercussions.

A Column of Enchantment is all cannon. Check out previous episodes here.

College basketball no longer begins the season with a 24-hour marathon. Instead, it’s a slate of decent games, but one that will also feature supposedly real teams such as the Champion Christian College Tigers, Washington Adventist University Shock and Club State Pool Cleaners.

Only one of the above is fake.

How about that Penny Hardaway fella overseeing the Memphis Tigers? He wants all the smoke, apparently. In fact, he wanted it last season, but now he wants even more of it. None of which is exactly shocking.

In case you weren’t aware, Penny was once an excellent shooty hoops player himself. As for the 2019-20 college basketball season, the Tigers have possibly the best group of freshmen in the country. Nevertheless, lost in all the fun “freshmen are all that and a bag of chips” narratives is that teams featuring so many young dudes rarely win a national title.

That’s all tomfoolery, negative Nancy ballwash, though. The success of a college basketball program, especially one on an uptick like the Memphis Tigers, shouldn’t be defined by whether or not a banner will be hung by season’s end. Instead, it can be about growth and winning and not winning it all.

By last count, there’s seven billion Division I basketball teams (math might be slightly off here). Not all of them can win the NCAA Tournament each season. Using that context, we should refuse to believe that the six billion odd other programs that failed to win a title are all losers.

Saturday Night Live still stinks. Maybe I aged out, but if all I need to do to witness the rare funny sketch is see what’s popping on YouTube the next day, there’s zero incentive to stay awake to watch lengthy sketches often falling flat. To be fair to them, comedy is hard.

Some quick college basketball hitters:

The Arizona Wildcats suspended sophomore guard Devonaire Doutrive indefinitely for violating unspecified team rules. His absence shouldn’t alter too much. Sean Miller has two wickedly talented freshmen who should help the Wildcats beat the living hell out of the FBI competition.

A few months after the UCLA Bruins hired former Cincinnati Bearcats dude Mick Cronin (a rubber duck without holes!) to take over the college basketball program, rival school USC is doing something similar. The Trojans are bringing in Cincy’s Mike Bohn to be the school’s new athletic director. Since I honestly have no idea who he is, or how good of a job he’s done with the Bearcats, I give this hiring an A-plus.

Gonzaga Bulldogs freshman Brock Ravet is taking a leave of absence. A four-star prospect, he was expected to help Mark Few offset some major roster turnover from last season’s quality squad. The release cited personal reasons for him taking a break. Maybe it had something to do with Few’s insanely long, problematic walk when talking about name, image and likeness rights.

Quade Green, a former member of the Kentucky Wildcats, just received some good news. Now with the Washington Huskies, the NCAA granted him a waiver making him immediately eligible to play. For those unaware, Mike Hopkins has done a tremendous job since taking over the gig a couple of years ago. With a great balance of veterans, as well as a few insanely gifted freshmen, the Huskies will make Pac-12 After Dark worth saying up for.

Did you know boxing is a sport where people punch each other right in the eyeballs and bellybuttons for money? Seems dangerous.

It’s a Column Of Enchantment, which is college basketball… kinda.

Joseph Nardone has covered college basketball for nearly a decade at various outlets. He is responsible for the debacle this is Column Of Enchantment. You can follow him on Twitter @JosephNardone.

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