3/17/11

TODAY’S RANT

There are those in college basketball who think the NCAA Tournament field should be expanded to include more than 68 teams. A 96-team field was proposed last year before the powers that be settled on adding three teams to get to this year’s number. My take is the tournament already has a 325-team field.

Let be explain. The NCAA recognizes 334 teams and 31 conferences as being major college in basketball. The 8-team Ivy League is the only conference that doesn’t have a post-season tournament that rewards its champion with an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. That means that after the regular season, 324 teams, plus the Ivy champ, have the opportunity to play for the national title. What could be fairer than that?

Let be make it perfectly clear: If an SEC team, for example, went winless during the regular season it would still be allowed to play in the conference tournament. Therefore, it remains eligible to win the national title.

I realize how absurd this sounds, but facts are facts. Here’s what I’d like to see: Reduce the number of so-called major college conferences to 16. Then have those winners play for the national title. In other words, winning your league title puts you in the Sweet 16. Come to think of it, that’s the way the NCAA did it years ago, long before cell phones, the internet, facebook and ESPN. It was a wonderful tournament. The conference tournaments were a much bigger deal back then. The regions, by the way, were determined by geography. Imagine, if you played in the South Region, you were a southern school. Sounds crazy, huh?

I still love the NCAA tournament, but I enjoyed it more before we squabbled about bubble teams and which 13-game losers were screwed by some faceless committee.

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