Just yesterday I thought my decision to go running while still feeling the effects of a cold was the worst idea ever. Then I read a little bit more about the NCAA’s impending expansion of 65 teams to 96 teams for the National Championship Tournament. They might as well just come out and say, “Yeah, we’re money hungry and adding teams gets us more money. We don’t care what you think.”
I mean, yeah, who cares that the NCAA Basketball Tournament is perfect the way it is and it’s truly the only reason I watch college basketball anyway?
Under the new format, 32 of the team would get automatic byes into the second round while the other 64 would battle it out in an extra game. So let me get this straight, since 1985 when the tournament was expanded to 64 teams, the lowest seed to ever win was #8 Villanova in 1985. For the math challenged out there, that means only the top 32 teams even have a shot at winning this thing anyway. Hey, sure, let’s add 31 more teams who don’t have a shot to win. That will make it so much better!
And what about those opening round games? I know I’ll be hanging on every second of the 24 seed vs. 16 seed. Those games will be so fun to pick in the brackets, too.
That Bubble that pundits love talking about so much would be non-existent as well. Those last four in, last four out things would matter less than they do now. Illinois and Rhode Island would have been safely in the tournament and we’d have been discussing the merits of 15-16 South Carolina and 16-15 Arizona (93 and 96 in the RPI, respectively). Who doesn’t want to see those two teams play more basketball. And they certainly deserve a shot to play for a National Title…
But this will add more potential Cinderellas, right? I don’t think so. It will add more teams, yes, but those teams will be the North Carolinas and UConns of the world who have terrible seasons but are given a reprieve. Fun. Then the George Masons and Cornells of the world are forced to play an extra game so they’re nice and tired before taking on one of the top 8 seeds. Maybe give me a call when a 16 seed beats a 1 seed. They’re 0-104 right now. And two seeds? 4-100.
It would also downplay the importance of conference tournaments. Mississippi State was playing for their lives in the SEC Tournament this year. With 96 teams, they don’t care. They’re a 19 seed, what do they care?
Outside of the top 65 teams in the RPI who made it into this year’s tournament, exactly one team, Ohio (#96) won a game. And that didn’t make me happy because I had Georgetown in the Final 4.
I think it’s a terrible idea. Someone needs to act like the voice of reason for the NCAA. How can anyone think this is a good idea? It just isn’t. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Put me in charge.