Cupcakes have their place.... On my plate.
Where cupcakes don't belong is on a division one teams schedule. It's a growing trend in college sports and in the end I believe it cheats fans and players. It's meant to be a warm up game but for student athletes who are one career ending injury away from losing their scholarships are tune ups against players from a lower division really worth it?
It cheats fans by having them pay to see a team that nobody cares about. Cupcakes are not at all relevant in terms of a teams standing and generally they are not from an institution that any one rooting for the "home team" has any connection with.
There are exceptions to this the second part of my view on how it cheats fans. In football you can play the Stony Brook's and Albany's of the world. Schools in the same state system who are just not all the way up to your current level.
I suppose in Basketball there is Buff-State but outside of them?
These schools do bring an emotional aspect, there is something to play for! In football one of these games per season count towards a bowl game.
Every so often an FCS team jump up and bite the big boys. Look at JMU over Virginia Tech, or the famous Appy over Michigan. FCS schools have few scholarships but through transfers and recruiting many have solid Bowl Subdivision level talent on their team. Khalil Mack almost went to Liberty (Ironically he would be playing for Turner Gill right now).
But hoops is different. Those division one squads who are playing in the FCS compete more or less on the same field as the big boys. That means the chance of a star player falling to division II is a lot less likely. Calling an FCS school a cupcake is sometimes wrong but calling a division II basketball a cupcake might be a compliment.
It cheats the players by sticking them in a game situation with nothing to gain or lose. The level of competition and difference in talent means it's truly a no win situation. These games don't factor into an at-large (unless you lose ala Tennessee 2010 ) but players being who they are have to play all out. This means a risk of injury for nothing, nadda, zip.
Will I tune in for this Saturday's game?
If I lived in Buffalo and had nothing to do (e.g. If I was a student working off a hangover) I would head down to Alumni but It's hard for me to get excited about this game.
If UB loses Ill be able to work up a lot of emotion.