Monday, July 12, 2010

NCAA Gets It Right...For A Change

Today, the NCAA announced how the new bracket for the 68-team field would look. There would be two play-in games featuring four teams fighting for presumably, 16 seeds. And now for the real kicker, the other two games will feature the last four teams in the field, playing for a spot in the main field of 64. The committee will seed them, so it could be two teams playing for the 12 seed and the right to play, say, Butler (the 5 seed) in the first round.

Why does this work? Because a opening round of eight small schools beating each other up for the right to be destroyed by a 1 seed is boring, it's not compelling, it’s the exact opposite of everything March Madness has become. Yes, there will still be two of these games, but we also got two games that should be extremely entertaining. Imagine, if you will, Virginia Tech on the bubble (its not hard to, they seem to be there every year) as well as Florida, Seton Hall, Penn State and or maybe a mid-major like Creighton, Saint Mary's, or maybe even Elon (well, maybe not the Phoenix for the foreseeable future anyway). Well, we in theory, no longer have to debate who should be in. They get to play their way in now and for those that are bracket-obsessed, we will now know who the committee viewed as the last four teams in. Although, I imagine Virginia Tech coach Seth Greenberg will find something to complain about next March anyway. (Maybe, Seth, if you actually scheduled a decent non-conference schedule, you wouldn’t be left crying and playing in the NIT.) Now if you want to debate why the games will be on TruTV, fair enough.

Would the perfect scenario have been four of these play-in games, with bubble teams fighting it out? Probably. But this is a happy medium and certainly not the worst thing in the world. Once again, the NCAA has managed not to do what I thought they would and make the worst decision possible. The first came when they resisted the urge after preparing everyone for an expansion to 96 teams, that they only went to 68 teams. 96 teams would have watered down the NCAA field and pretty much wiped out the NIT (a tournament I like, but perhaps that is because I am a college hoops junkie). Yet, we have moved to 68 teams and a sensible concept for the bracket for now, although I am sure that will change soon enough.
Journey - Who’s Crying Now


  1. It was just dandy the way it was. I don't really get the point of adding more teams.

  2. I agree it wasn't broken, but the 68 team setup is better than the 96 team setup that seemed inevitable three months ago.

    The additional teams added are about maximizing money in a tv contract. With that said, the two "bubble games" should be pretty good.