Monday, June 26, 2006

More on a proposed expanded NCAA Tournament field

In my last post, I gave a brief gloss-over about why an expanded NCAA Tournament field doesn't sound so bad. I'd now like to expand on the pros and cons of the proposal (which, by the way, is merely a proposal. Don't look for 128 teams to be in the tournament next season). It's just a few points that I think NCAA officials should ponder if and when they seriously consider expansion:

Here's some possible good points for expansion:

1. Hey, why not? It only adds a week to the tournament. After the initial round, we're back down to 64, like usual. It would give more teams exposure and money, similar to college football's bowl system where most of the bowls don't count for anything, but everyone goes home happy.

2. It could give more deserving mid-major teams a chance to go to The Dance. The days of going 27-3 and missing the tournament because no one cares about your conference and/or your RPI and SOS wasn't too strong could be over.

3. It would enable more coaches to keep their jobs. See point #1 above.

And now some possible downfalls:

1. Would it really give more mid-major schools a chance to go to The Dance, or would it merely allow more mediocre ACC, Big East, SEC, etc., teams to get in?

2. More games mean more chances for the heavyweights to slip up and lose a game to a team they shouldn't lose to. Granted, that can happen in the tournament as it is now (no offense to the Weber State fans who are still celebrating their 1997 tournament victory over the Heels, but I think in a seven game series, UNC would have come out on top).

3. Whereas I understand where the magic number 128 came from (64x2, which seems like the logical way to expand), it just seems rather excessive. I understand that every year, some deserving teams get left at home. But is doubling the field really the answer? I think if the NCAA decides to include more teams, it would need to consider reformatting the tournament altogether. And THAT is something I don't see happening anytime in the near future.

I'm sure I'll have more to say on this topic if it stays in the news...


Steph said...

I don't think they should expand the field. I don't like all the bubble talk that begins in December either, and I guess 128 teams would alleviate some of that. I do enjoy, though, that for the most part, undeserving teams don't usually make the tournament (case in point, Maryland this past year). It's part of the fun of the tournament. 128 teams is just too many VERY mediocre teams in a tournament that I think you should have to play your way into.

(Side comment, too: I think the Weber St.-UNC upsets are great and are what make the tournament the greatest American sporting event every year. And no, I don't like it when it happens to my team either.)

Archivalist said...

I think there should be 256 teams in the tournament! Every Div I team should get in, plus some deserving Div II teams, and then the worst of the bunch can be relegated to the next level down, just like soccer! (Hey, no World Cup bloggings here?)