banner
Ryan Craig

Leave the NCAA Tournament alone

Posted December 10, 2009

There is talk that the NCAA could expand its men’s basketball tournament from the current 65-team pool.

I, for one, am hoping those talks go nowhere.

With the NCAA holding the option to back out of the final three years of its deal with CBS after the conclusion of this season, conversations are already being had about possible changes to the most exciting tournament in all of sports.

The last big expansion of college basketball’s season-ending playoff was in 1985, when the field grew from 48 to 64 teams.

Since that time, a 65th team, and one play-in game have also been tacked on.

But what would be the point of making the tournament even larger than it already is?

Money?

What else is new?

For once, I hope that the governing body of college sports acts in a manner that benefits the product, and not just the wallet.

More teams would mean more rounds, and more rounds would likely mean an earlier start.

If that were the case, what would happen to the major conference tournaments?

Would they be canceled altogether?

It used to be that the conference tournaments were given the respect they deserved. There was no opportunity to play for a national championship without a conference tournament title – and it’s still that way in the smaller conferences.

I'm not saying we should go back to allowing only one team from each conference into the tournament, but in the ACC, Big East, Big 12, etc…, some coaches have begun treating their conference tournaments like mere warm-ups for the Big Dance. Adding more games on to the end of the season would only motivate coaches to monitor the playing time of their greatest players even more.

I wouldn’t consider myself an ardent traditionalist, but I also don’t like the idea of diminishing the importance of conference tournaments even more than it already is.

Also, it’s not like you would be expanding the field to include the upper echelon teams – they’re already in.

What you are adding, in essence, are teams that quite frankly, aren’t that good.

Do we really need to be including the ninth-best team in the Big East, or the tenth-best in the ACC?

And, once you add on to the 65-team total, where does it end?

If you expand the bracket to include 96 programs, teams 66, 67, 68 and 69 that were on the outside looking in before would now be safely in, but all that does is ensure that teams 97, 98, 99 and 100 would take over the griping duties.

What about the importance of the regular season?

How can the NCAA say that one of the best things about college football is the fact that the BCS system as it’s currently set up emphasizes the regular season by ensuring every game matters, and then turn around and institute a tournament so big and forgiving in basketball that the best teams are allowed ten or twelve bad games without any measure of consequence?

You think the country’s best teams would give their all every night knowing they were already a lock for the postseason in mid-January?

Try again.

So called late-season “Bracket Buster” games won’t have nearly the significance, and early-season non-conference games won’t be the resume builders or breakers that they are now.

I get that there are more teams playing Division I basketball than ever, and that more of those teams that are competing are doing so at a higher level.

But in my eyes, that just makes the regular season and conference tournaments that much more exciting.

The NCAA finally got one right in March Madness – expanding things now would be just plain mad.
 

3 Comments

This blogpost is closed for comments.

Newest First
View all
  • Ken D. Dec 12, 3:11 p.m.

    When the NCAA allowed a new conference to join the party, it added a play-in game in order to prevent a mediocre team from a major conference to lose its bid to the big dance. For the unfortunate teams chosen for that game, one of them is denied the tournament experience the other 64 enjoy.

    If we are going to have a first round, with 63 teams getting a bye, we can do better. I suggest that the twelve weakest conferences not get a first round bye. Have their champions, plus four at large selections from those conferences, play the first round on the weekend that the major conferences now have their season ending tourneys. Have the winners of each of the four brackets earn a spot in the round of 64, with a seed of no lower than 12.

    The remaining 13 conferences have the remaining 60 spots with a first round bye. In this format, there would be seven additional spots for the major and mid-major conferences, so do away with the NIT.

    As it stands today, the teams from the minor conferences have little realistic shot at winning a tournament game. In my format, eight teams would win at least one game, and there is a realistic chance that one could beat a #5 seed and get to the fourth round. How great would that be for the players and their fans? And now, the #15 and #16 teams in each bracket would be from a power conference, adding to the chance that a #1 or #2 seed would be upset in the first round. That would add a little spice to the Thursday/Friday games.

    All this could be done with very little damage to the format that has made this tournament so special, and give the kids from the small schools a real tournament experience. I'd rather see this than watch a #33 seed play #96 in the first round, as has been proposed.

  • Ken D. Dec 12, 3:36 p.m.

    For some reason, I am unable to edit my original post. The 16 teams not getting a bye would play the first and second rounds while major conference tourneys are underway.

  • tarheel1946 Dec 13, 12:50 p.m.

    There are too many teams now. There are not 65 teams with a chance in hell of winning the tournament and there certainly not 96.

  • CBB: North Carolina vs. Ohio State

    Today at 1:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • CBB: UCLA vs Kentucky

    Today at 3:30 pm on WRAL-TV

  • NFL: San Diego at San Francisco

    Tonight at 8:25 on WRAL-TV

  • NFL: Panthers vs. Cleveland

    Monday at 1:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • CBB: UCLA at Kentucky

    Today at 3:15 pm on 99.9 The Fan

  • NFL: Philadelphia at Washington

    Today at 4:25 pm on 620am

  • NHL: Canes vs. NY Rangers

    Tonight at 7:00 on 99.9 The Fan

  • CBB: NC State at West Virginia

    Tonight at 9:30 on WRAL-FM

Scoreboard
Local
Final
PHI 91
CHA 109
1:00pm Today
UNC
OSU
 
4:00pm Today
MVSU
NCCU
 
7:00pm Tonight
UNCW
ECU
 
7:00pm Tonight
CAR
NYR
 
7:00pm Tonight
CHA
UTA
 
9:30pm Tonight
WVU
NCSU
 
Final
PHI 91
CHA 109
Final
ORL 94
UTA 101
Final
CLE 95
BRK 91
Final
BOS 114
MIN 98
Final
DET 100
TOR 110
Final
MIA 103
WAS 105
Final
MEM 97
CHI 103
Final
SAN 119
POR 129
Final
DEN 109
LAC 106
4th
LAL 99
OKC 100
 
1:00pm Today
NYK
PHO
 
7:00pm Tonight
NOP
POR
 
7:00pm Tonight
CHA
UTA
 
8:00pm Tonight
HOU
ATL
 
8:30pm Tonight
DAL
SAN
 
9:00pm Tonight
DEN
IND
 
10:30pm Tonight
LAC
MIL
 
11:00am Today
LALAF
NEV
2:20pm Today
UTEP
UTST
3:30pm Today
COLST
UTAH
5:45pm Tonight
AFA
WMICH
9:15pm Tonight
BGU
SALABAMA
Final
YOUNG 92
WILB 71
 
Final
TULA 56
JST 49
 
Final
RAD 76
SIENA 66
 
Final
BUCK 88
CASEWEST 65
 
Final
LIB 94
CPNC 65
 
Final
SCAR 68
CLEM 45
Final
CMICH 97
CONC 60
 
Final
MIAMI 44
EKENT 72
Final
GWEBB 91
HIWASSEE 71
 
Final
ODU 60
MDES 43
 
Final
BUF 88
NIAG 62
 
Final
KSU 71
NCAT 57
 
Final
FAM 65
UNF 83
 
Final
NORST 81
NARZ 62
 
Final
DART 58
NILL 55
 
Final
MORE 60
NKENTUCKY 83
 
Final
UCSB 69
SDCHR 46
 
Final
STJ 53
GAELS 47
Final
ALA 69
STILL 49
 
Final
HAMP 66
TENST 54
 
Final
TENN 61
TENT 58
Final
WMARY 86
WSHMD 46
 
Final
MERC 67
COOK 46
 
Final
FLGC 83
FUR 78
 
Final
CALST 49
SDKST 53
 
Final
MTST 68
CHAT 58
Final
NDAK 78
DICKINSON 48
 
Final
LAMON 76
LSUALEX 71
 
Final
PRIN 77
LIP 55
 
Final
LAM 80
MLGN 53
 
Final
MINN 92
SEAT 57
 
Final
LOYC 73
SUTAH 57
 
Final
SELA 81
WINT 71
 
Final
SILL 52
NO 56
 
Final
MARQ 83
ALAAM 49
 
Final
TTU 72
ARKPB 51
 
Final
DEN 84
COLST 85
Final
CREI 75
TXPA 60
 
Final
CAL 78
EWASH 67
 
Final
UTST 69
IDST 56
 
2nd
UTEP 41
ARZ 45
 
1st
CHAM 32
HAW 55
 
12:00pm Today
GEOR
CHAR
 
12:00pm Today
WKENT
LOU
 
12:00pm Today
MICH
SMU
 
12:00pm Today
CIN
VCU
 
1:00pm Today
BSU
ABCHRIST
 
1:00pm Today
PROV
UMASS
 
1:00pm Today
AMER
MNTER
 
1:00pm Today
UNC
OSU
 
1:00pm Today
IUPUI
SALA
 
1:00pm Today
VILL
SYR
 
1:00pm Today
VT
CITA
 
1:00pm Today
DUQ
MLOWELL
 
1:30pm Today
FAIR
BEL
 
2:00pm Today
YALE
GTDNS
 
2:00pm Today
FD
DEL
 
2:00pm Today
PSU
DREX
 
2:00pm Today
UNCG
ELON
 
2:00pm Today
ILL
MIZZ
 
2:00pm Today
CAMP
MONT
 
2:00pm Today
LONG
PSUBEAVER
 
2:00pm Today
HOU
SCST
 
2:00pm Today
FSU
SFLA
 
2:00pm Today
BING
BONA
 
2:00pm Today
RUTG
RFLSH
 
2:00pm Today
MCNST
TOL
 
2:00pm Today
JVU
TRUETT
 
2:00pm Today
GT
VANDY
 
2:05pm Today
INDST
EILL
 
2:30pm Today
BUT
IND
 
3:00pm Today
STEPH
ARTCH
 
3:00pm Today
OREG
DELST
 
3:00pm Today
Terriers
FATL
 
3:00pm Today
TXARL
HPYN
 
3:00pm Today
KU
LAF
 
3:00pm Today
ARKST
MARS
 
3:00pm Today
MEM
ORU
 
3:00pm Today
KNST
UMBC
 
3:00pm Today
NW
WMICH
 
3:05pm Today
MIZST
EMICH
 
3:05pm Today
CHIST
STJOE
 
3:30pm Today
KENT
UCLA
 
4:00pm Today
COC
DAVID
 
4:00pm Today
RIU
DET
 
4:00pm Today
UCR
HOUB
 
4:00pm Today
MURST
ILLST
 
4:00pm Today
NWST
LALAF
 
4:00pm Today
WAGN
MON
 
4:00pm Today
MVSU
NCCU
 
4:00pm Today
PITT
OU
 
4:00pm Today
TENNM
PBY
 
4:00pm Today
WYO
SOUTH
 
4:00pm Today
AFA
UCD
 
4:00pm Today
MSST
USCU
 
5:00pm Tonight
JMU
HIGH
 
5:00pm Tonight
TXST
HTILL
 
5:00pm Tonight
DRAK
ISU
 
5:00pm Tonight
SHU
UNH
 
5:00pm Tonight
SCU
NE
 
5:00pm Tonight
MSU
TXSOU
 
5:00pm Tonight
UF
WAKE
 
5:15pm Tonight
ND
PURD
 
5:30pm Tonight
SHSU
PVU
 
6:00pm Tonight
AUB
XAV
 
7:00pm Tonight
AKR
BLUFFTON
 
7:00pm Tonight
DAY
BU
 
7:00pm Tonight
UNCW
ECU
 
7:00pm Tonight
CLMB
HOF
 
7:00pm Tonight
GMAS
IONA
 
7:00pm Tonight
TOWS
LAS
 
7:00pm Tonight
MAN
MRGST
 
7:00pm Tonight
CCST
YALE
 
7:00pm Tonight
PEPP
RICH
 
7:00pm Tonight
MAR
STJOE
 
7:00pm Tonight
KYST
TEXAM
 
7:00pm Tonight
MAST
VALPO
 
7:05pm Tonight
UMKC
INCWORD
 
7:30pm Tonight
IDST
CALST
 
7:30pm Tonight
NIOWA
IOWA
 
7:30pm Tonight
SIUE
UWMIL
 
8:00pm Tonight
TEX
LBSU
 
8:00pm Tonight
TCU
TXSA
 
8:30pm Tonight
ARK
SEMIZ
 
9:00pm Tonight
NCOL
JVST
 
9:00pm Tonight
ARST
LEH
 
9:00pm Tonight
NMST
NMU
 
9:00pm Tonight
WASH
OKLA
 
9:00pm Tonight
GRCN
STED
 
9:00pm Tonight
WEBER
WLVRN
 
9:30pm Tonight
WVU
NCSU
 
10:00pm Tonight
SDST
BST
 
10:00pm Tonight
GONZ
CPSL
 
10:00pm Tonight
PAC
FRES
 
10:00pm Tonight
PORT
MNTST
 
10:00pm Tonight
CSNO
TAMCC
 
10:05pm Tonight
UTST
SDKST
 
11:00pm Tonight
BYU
STAN
 
11:30pm Tonight
UNLV
UTAH
 
Final
NJD 3
TAM 2
Final
OTT 6
ANA 2
Final
DET 1
NYI 2
Final
WIN 2
BOS 1
Final
CAL 1
DAL 2
4:00pm Today
LOS
ARI
 
7:00pm Tonight
CLB
CHI
 
7:00pm Tonight
BUF
COL
 
7:00pm Tonight
PIT
FLA
 
7:00pm Tonight
CAR
NYR
 
7:00pm Tonight
MON
OTT
 
7:00pm Tonight
TOR
PHI
 
7:00pm Tonight
NYI
TAM
 
7:00pm Tonight
NJD
WAS
 
8:00pm Tonight
MIN
NAS
 
10:00pm Tonight
VAN
CAL
 
10:30pm Tonight
SJS
STL
 
4:30pm Today
WAS
PHI
8:25pm Tonight
SFX
SDC