Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Expanding the NCAA Basketball Tournament

Apparently, there are college coaches wanting to push the NCAA men's basketball tournament to 96 teams. My response to that is bad, bad, bad idea.

The NCAA tournament is one of the best in sports. Selection Sunday is a big deal. Do the bubble teams make it or fall off? Cinderellas eagerly await their first opposition.

If it's not broken why fix it?

Expanding the field will hurt interest. Marginal teams will get bids. Bubble teams will have poorer records. Student athletes will play more games. Student athletes will miss more classes. The season will get longer including the tournament.

I get it why coaches and schools want the expansion. Frankly, the tournament is job security for coaches. The tournament (in or out) is how many coaches are judged these days. Plus, coaches may receive additional money for appearances and advancing in the tournament. Schools receive great exposure for tournament appearances. It's a wonderful marketing tool.

People say that there will be expanding TV revenue as well. But at what point will the buyer reach that risk-and-reward theme and choose the risk one?

I am still waiting for the day when a No. 16 seed beats a No. 1. It has yet to happen in the 64-team field despite a few close calls. That scene might be in more serious doubt if the field expands.

What do you think about tournament expansion?

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