Thursday, April 22, 2010

NCAA Looks Likely To Expand To 68

I'm sure most everybody has heard by now that the new conventional wisdom is that the NCAA Tournament will expand to 68 teams instead of 96. The good news is that the Tournament will be spread among different tv channels, so you won't need to use March Madness On Demand to watch the games you want to watch.

I don't see how 68 teams makes the Tournament better. Nobody didn't watch the NCAA Tournament because Mississippi State and Illinois weren't included this past season. People want to see the National Championship contenders, and they want to see the Cinderellas. Nobody cares about the 8th Big East team.

I don't believe in conspiracy theories, but you have to wonder about all of those stories from NCAA leaders that it was a "done deal" that the field was going to 96. It certainly seems like they were setting people up to be happy that we were "only" going to 68, when we all would have been unhappy with it if we hadn't feared the 96 expansion.

But at last this won't dramatically change the tempo of the Tournament, with the same two-games-each-on-three-straight-weekends procedure applying to the top teams. If anything, it will increase the chances of a 1/16 or 2/15 upset, since the truly awful teams (SWAC conference, I'm looking at you) will be eliminated. Take this past season, where 1 seeds could have ended up playing a team like Ohio or Wofford. That's not a walkover for any team.

But it goes without saying that nothing's official until it's official. I won't put out a BP68 until it's official. In fact, I'll even take opinions now on whether you guys think I should even bother changing the name from BP65. What do you think?

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