Run-of-the-mill bad ideas are a dime a dozen. Eating that 3-day-old Chinese take-out? Seeing if you can get the baby and the dog to wrestle? Greenlighting “The Swan”? All clearly bad. But not extraordinary.
But, what the N¢AA (that really doesn’t have the punch I would like it to, but, oh well) is about to do goes so far beyond these. No. We’re entering firmly into “I’ll just keep my gun in my sweatpants” territory now.
I’m tired of people saying that “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” is NOT a legitimate anti-expansion sentiment. It clearly IS legitimate. I challenge anyone who has challenged me to name one way in which a 96-team tournament will be bad for college basketball…to name one way in which a 96-team tournament will be GOOD for college basketball.
The only legitimate reason for it has been and always will be: “More money.”
The same money that the NCAA refuses to let its athletes even look at.
This expansion (which we have been told is “inevitable”) only helps the NCAA’s bank account and, to a lesser extent, the Top 20 programs in the country.
Now, keep in mind, I am a FAN of one of those programs. But the complete and total unbalance of what used to be the greatest tournament in sports really will favor the top teams more than it did before. If the NCAA’s aim was to “give more teams a chance to compete” in the tournament…they might not like what will happen. The bottom 64 teams have to play an extra game. The top 32 don’t. It’s hard enough to win six games in a row, I’m guessing it will be impossible to win seven….especially when you’re probably not good enough to be there in the first place.
The typically even-matched #8 vs. #9 game is the perfect example of why this will change everything. Now, instead of two relatively equal teams battling out of the gate for a chance to prove themselves against the #1 seed in their region a round later…we get one team (the #8) playing another, comparable team (the #9) that just HAPPENS to have played a full game already. Or even worse…we have one team (the #8) playing the 7th best MAAC team or DePaul when the #24 seed beats the #9 in the first round. The #8 seed should NEVER be a heavy favorite in any game. The #8 seed should NEVER be rewarded with that much of an advantage. The ’85 Villanova Wildcats aren’t walking through that door again any time soon.
Speaking of lower seeds making deep runs…
Do you remember when George Mason made the Final Four in 2006 as an 11 seed? Hope you enjoyed that Cinderella run, because you won’t be seeing its kind again any time soon. Cinderella now gets to play an extra game if she wants to go to the ball. Something special that has rarely happened in the past now gets the added exoticness of NEVER getting to happen again.
There are so many more reasons, but now I’m out of