Brevin Knight is well versed in what it’s like to play in the NCAA Tournament. The former NBA point guard was a four-year starter for Stanford back in the mid-90’s and made three trips to the Big Dance as a part of coach Mike Montgomery’s squads.
As we all know, the tournament has changed quite a bit since those days, becoming one of the biggest sporting events on the calendar each year.
What’s the biggest difference between today’s tournament and when he played?
“Now it’s on four stations, every game is going to be televised. The brackets and everything has gone to an entirely different level,” said Knight on CBS Sports Radio’s After Hours with Amy Lawrence. “I think just the age of social media has made all of these tournaments and situations a lot bigger than they were back in the day.”
Each year, we continue to see the moments everybody loves: upsets. This year already we’ve seen behemoths like Michigan State, Texas, Purdue and West Virginia be knocked out of the tournament by the likes of Middle Tennessee State, Northern Iowa, Arkansas Little Rock, and Stephen F Austin respectively. Knight has an idea of why we continue to see these type of upsets year after year.
“March Madness is exactly what it says: madness. The good thing is that all of the schools–I always tell people there are a lot of good basketball players and good programs throughout the country that just aren’t on TV as much as the big Division I schools,” said Knight. “These schools get an opportunity to have guys around for three and four years so that they learn how to play with one another. They make up the difference for what they may not have in overall individual talent, as a collective unit they are very tough to beat. That’s why we’re seeing every year the upsets start to become more of a regularity. You see these schools that are considered to be smaller schools still have great success against your normal, big-time Division I programs. I enjoy every moment of it.”
That leads to the discussion that is always revolving around the college game: players leaving school early for the NBA. Knight played 12 years in the league after he had played four years of college ball, what’s the biggest challenge he sees young players facing when they enter the NBA?
“Number one is, away from the game is a bigger hurdle than the game itself,” said Knight. “Just the understanding of now you are paying taxes, you are paying bills, you are now in essence, considered and adult. When you’re really still just a kid that has a skill set that puts you into an adult world. The basketball side, these kids have been playing so much basketball against top-level people that those that are really good and deserving of those top draft choices will figure out how to have some level of success in the game. My worry, for those are how are they able to survive off the floor? There is a lot of pressure, I think more so off the floor than on the floor for those young guys.”