Boy, College Ball Is Really Hard To Watch

March Madness is fun, it’s wonderful; it’s the sum total of everything that is good about sports. On the one hand, it’s amazing that other sports haven’t tried to copy the extraordinarily successful model—one so ingrained in the culture that every year we hear about how much money businesses lose to less-productive worker/spectators and how many men purposefully schedule vasectomies during this time to have an excuse for sitting around watching sports all day. Whether those things are true or not is immaterial; the fact that we believe them is evidence of the massive power of the Tournament.

And it’s with good reason, too. It’s exhilarating and communal to fill out a bracket and watch it fall to pieces almost instantly—it seems like years before the NBA or NFL playoffs actually do anything, by comparison. It’s the one time of year that arguments for not paying amateur athletes start to make a tiny bit of sense. You start to think, “If we paid these kids, would they play this hard?” and wonder if doing the right thing in this case would make us all worse off. That’s insane, of course, but that’s how good this thing is. It’s great!

But hoo boy, the quality of play is low. Very low. Check out these highlights from Holy Cross v. Southern in the first round and tell me anything that looks like it might belong in even the Italian basketball leagues. Keep in mind these are the highlights. Oof. College ball is really, really hard to watch.

Now, when is the first game on?