In truth, what makes March Madness so much less exciting for me isn’t the repetition. They play the World Series every year, and most of the time it’s not boring. No, the problem is that like any sport, the technical details of basketball only really reach a certain level of excitement when you’re buying into the spectacle behind the tournament: The rivalries, the perception of school spirit, and the bracket format that that can dependably create drama.

And a lot of that has been bulldozed by the modern NCAA.

When I first watched the tournament as a freshman, it excited me to such a degree that it actually influenced my college search, because I wanted to get closer to the Madness. But now that I’ve been through to the other side of the college diploma mill, I know that the athletes aren’t particularly participatory in the student community, nor do they generally enhance the quality of life for the other students.

The rivalries and conferences that used to drive a lot of excitement have been scrambled, too.