There is bad, and then there is Bad. This year’s men’s college basketball season has been so weak that not one single team from the L.A. area qualified for the Big Dance.

That’s right, no UCLA. No USC. Nada for the likes of Cal States Fullerton, Northridge or Long Beach. Mission not accomplished for Pepperdine or Loyola Marymount.

No one deserves to be declared winner when the Big Dance comes to a halt. In fact, rooting for someone to win it all on April 5 is like hoping a bunch of amateur short films playing on YouTube will duke it out for an Academy Award for Best Picture. Sure, those basement-level productions might entertain someone, but that does not mean they are deserving of some major bling bling.

Put in simpler terms – this year’s tournament is basically pitting David against David. For only the fifth time in 50 years, the suburban sprawl that is the City of Angels failed to send a representative to the NCAA Tourney – the previous four times being 1966, 1984, 2003 and 2004. And that is not good for college basketball.

So why is a loss for amateur hoops in Los Angeles a black eye for D-I collegiate basketball? Basically, the lack of a dominant team from Southern California is reflective of how bad the rest of the field is.

Poor Division I play is not limited to Los Angeles. Many other previously dominant teams seemed to have taken a few steps back in 2010.

Arizona, Indiana, Connecticut, North Carolina and Michigan join UCLA as elite programs seeing their respective seasons end rather prematurely. Among that batch, Arizona has to come to terms with its 25-year tournament appearance streak coming to an abrupt end. Even crazier, these six teams combined for nearly 25 national titles in that same 50-year period used to measure down years for amateur hoops in Los Angeles.

Of course, some of the usual powerhouses are still around, like Duke, Kansas, Kentucky, Syracuse, Pittsburgh and Michigan State. Yet, with the lack of so many major powerhouses, this year’s field is as wide open as ever.

Overall, it just has not been a competitive season. Kansas may have never ranked below No. 3 in the ESPN/USA Today Poll, but when six major programs are all but nonexistent this season, well a 32-2 record just does not seem as significant.

Accordingly, fallen powers and open competition means not even Kansas is safe from falling short this season, despite convincing victories in its last two games against No. 7 Kansas State and No. 23 Texas Tech. Anyone who thinks Kansas or Kentucky are near invisible need only be reminded that Tennessee, a Midwest-bracket No. 6 seed, defeated both teams in the regular season. That stat alone should be indicative of just how wide open the Big Dance is this year.

For the first time in a long time, the national field is as open as the road to the Pac-10 title. Some may claim parity. I say hogwash.

The fact the mid-majors are salivating at this year’s tourney is bad news. What good is a postseason without a Big Bad Monster? How fun can the Big Dance be if teams are not shaking in their boots even when they see Kansas or Kentucky in their bracket?

Just like in any other sporting postseason, college basketball needs its regular powerhouses to keep things interesting. Yet, with three of the last six national champions sitting at home and the lack of traditional tourney teams across the board, the 2010 Big Dance will be about as exciting as Sunday nightlife in the Final Four host city of Indianapolis.

At the end of the day, one thing that separates the Big Dance from other postseasons its ability to allow a steady dose of David versus Goliaths. Fans love it when a Cinderella-like David defeats Goliath. Who does not love it when two Goliaths go at it like heavyweights and leave everyone unconscious in their wake?

Ultimately, the 2010 Big Dance features David versus David across the board. Where is the fun in that?