Capitalist Sports
Sports with a twist

NCAA Tourney Expansion?

NCAA officials have begun to discuss expanding the NCAA tournament to include 96 teams, up from the current number of 65 teams.  Officials seem to believe that this will be “beneficial” to the tournament.  But let’s break down what the really mean by that.

1) More revenue for the NCAA.

– By increasing the number of teams t0 96, the NCAA tournament would essential consume the NIT.  This means less venues, and therefor, more money for the NCAA.  Also, CBS would have to pony up MORE than they are currently paying ($6 Billion per year) for an added amount of teams.

2) The regular season become irrelevant.

-With the new format, both the conference tournament winner of each conference, as well as the regular season conference winner, would receive automatic bids into the tournament.  With a larger field, the regular season wins required to get into the tournament will drop, and there will be little incentive to schedule any tough non-conference teams on the schedule.  The regular season essential becomes a long exhibition period.

3) 96 teams.

– I can’t believe a group of people looked at this and thought, YES. THIS IS A GREAT IDEA….It doesn’t make sense.  In the current format, a 16 seed has NEVER beaten a 1 seed.  Now you want to expand the number of potential low (13-16) seeds?  Why?  The “opening round” which would take place before the current first round would be like a consolation game for these teams. It’s basically telling them, congrats you had a decent season in a conference nobody in the country has ever heard of. You can play one game against another team nobody has ever heard of and then get crushed by a 1-2 seed in the first round.  What’s the point.

4) Coaching

-The “NCAA tournaments” part of any coach’s resume also becomes essentially meaningless.  Also, I believe more coaches will be on the hook for their jobs from year to year.  If I was an athletic director doing a review of my program at the end of the season, and I think to myself “this coach couldn’t even make it to the 96 team tournament?” would I continue to pay this man to run my basketball program? NO. I’D FIRE HIM. This will in NO WAY save more coaches their jobs.

5) The NCAA executives are forgetting the most important part of the tournament. The players.

– If I was playing for a mid-major team, I’m sure that I would love to play in the NCAA tournament, even if it was only for one game.  However, that is going to get old quickly.  The NIT provides a prime forum for teams that didn’t make the cut for the NCAA tournament to gain some playoff type experience, while playing some games that actually do mean something.

I think Jay Billas said it best.  Aside from a big pile of money, there is no good reason to make this change.  We’re talking about expanding the tournament by 31 teams.  The last time the tournament was expanded was in 2001…from 64 to 65 teams.  This move doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, and I hope fore everyone’s sake it doesn’t end up happening.


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