Thursday, April 01, 2010

Larger NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament

It is looking like the NCAA is moving forward with an expanded men's basketball tournament, from 65 teams to 96. At first, my reaction was "come on." But after thinking about it, this seems inevitable.

It is all about money. More games mean more money. Many more teams will get in, especially those good bubble teams even though they would have lost in the first or second round anyway.

The drawbacks are that it renders the regular season less meaningful, just like the NBA and NHL. They will hope to have only teams with winning records make the tournament, but there will be teams from major conferences that have overall winning records but losing records within their conference.

I like the fact that the top teams will get byes and that the tournament will still occur within three weeks.
The first-round games for the 64 non-bye teams would take place on Thursday and Friday, with the winners playing the top eight seeds in each region on Saturday and Sunday. Winners on Saturday would likely play again on Tuesday, and the Sunday winners on Wednesday. Those winners would then move on to the regionals, playing alternate days starting on Thursday.
They will probably need extra host sites. I also wonder if CBS or any single network can cover the entire tournament by itself? On the good side, we get to eliminate that useless Tuesday play-in game for the 64th entry and apparently it will engulf the now irrelevant NIT.

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