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From heroes to zeroes?

Today's All-Tournament teams don't feature talent like the 1982 squad with Michael Jordan. Malcolm Emmons/USA TODAY Sports

As appealing as the one-and-done craziness of the NCAA tournament is to casual observers, March Madness also represents an interesting battle among hardcore fans over the soul of basketball.

Some sticklers have long devoted themselves to the college game as a "purer" form of the sport, devoid of the supposed flash-and-dash that plagues the pros. On the other side of the aisle, though, the argument is simple: The NBA features higher-caliber basketball with better players. Case closed, right?

In many ways, it's getting harder to avoid the NBA devotees' argument. As I wrote for Basketball Prospectus a year ago, the last few decades have seen the college game become less and less relevant in terms of producing NBA stars.