Here's Monday's Dear Gary ...
Dear Gary: Did you watch the Xavier-Memphis game in the finals of the Puerto Rico Tip-off on Sunday night? While it was a great game, the arena was maybe a fourth full. Does the number of early season tournaments need to diminish?
In a word, no.
And you're looking at this all wrong.
Because as long as ESPN is willing to televise the games then the tournaments will survive because programs will line up to take part regardless of how many fans may or may not be in the crowd. In other words, the crowds don't matter. This is all about television, plain and simple. I mean, why do you think the Puerto Rico Tip-off and Paradise Jam both played Friday and Sunday, but not Saturday? It's because all of Saturday's TV spots were taken by college football. So basketball had to wait until ESPN could accommodate it. Similarly, it's why the Maui Invitational starts the day after the Puerto Rico Shootout ends, and why the Old Spice Classic starts the day after the Maui Invitational ends. It's all designed to give ESPN programming every day of the week, and nobody really cares if the arenas are full or empty or whatever. That's all beside the point because the point for ESPN is to have programming and the point for the teams is to get on ESPN.
Honestly, you could put a tournament in Turkey, and programs would make the trip if ESPN offered to televise it.
That's how important television is in college basketball.
Everything else ranks a distance second.
Fans in seats, included.