Sunday, June 25, 2006

NCAA considering doubling Basketball Tournament Field

In one of the worst ideas in a long time, The National Association of Basketball Coaches is recommending expanding the NCAA Tournament field from 65 to 128 teams.

It doesn't take Columbo to realize the agenda of the Coaches as making or not making the NCAA Tournament is pretty much the watermark to whether coaches contracts are renewed or if they are fired.

The consequences of expanding the field are:

-The influx of mediocrity into the NCAA Tournament. Lowering the benchmark for inclusion in the NCAA Tournament from 20 wins to around 14 or 15 wins and teams like Minnesota and Florida State who go below .500 in their conference would be allowed to play for a National Championship

-Rendering the conference tournaments to just about complete irrelevance. What is one of the more enjoyable weeks of College Basketball and a chance to see almost all the major teams and players in a short amount of time would be almost a non event and would have no incentive for highly ranked teams to play their best players.

-The postseason NIT would probably have to be cancelled or include teams with winning percentage in the .400 range. Chances are there is no value in watching these teams whatsoever. I would admit this is the least significant of the consequences.

Jim Boeheim of all people recommends a much less ambitious expansion. From three to seven teams. Three would be the ideal in my opinion as it would allow all 16 seeds to play a play-in game and would make for a full day in Dayton of four games. As opposed to the play-in game between the lowest ranked 16 seeds which seems like the Tournament's Appendix.

Jim Haney, Executive Director of the NABC doesn't foresee the NCAA adopting their recommendations. "I don't think the idea of doubling the field is going to happen right now because there are too many complications to do that," Haney said. "But I think the committee will seriously consider what the number will be. ... I think if it happens, it will have to happen soon because of the logistical issues."

That said, the idea is on the table and when it comes to the NCAA and television and tournament sites, more is more. Once the logistics are figured out I think we may see a 128 game tournament until the ratings for the first round barely get off the ground and no team seeded below 20 wins a game and no team below 25 is even competitive. Then the NCAA will come to its senses.


At 2:21 PM , Blogger Mike said...

A horrible idea. College basketball would turn into the NBA and nobody would watch a single game during the regular season.


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