Expanding the NCAA tournament

Throwing this one against the wall. Inspired by Run49er’s frequent mention of the new regular season champ automatic invite rule in the newly acquired NIT and Jim Boeheim’s griping on air.

What if:

  • The postseason NIT was folded.
  • The preseason NIT became a bigger event - designed at getting BCS schools to play each other and mid majors that they usually duck
  • The NCAA tournament field was expanded to 96 teams, comprised of:
    a) The 31 conference regular season champions
    b) the 31 conference tournament champs
    c) the same minimum number (34) of at-large bids as exist now (or more if duplication between a & b above)
  • The NCAA tournament format changed to a 64 team first round that would produce 32 winners that would play the 32 highest ranked teams that earned byes by virtue of their seeding.
  • The RPI actually mattered. New rule that teams with RPIs better than 50 could not be passed over to give out an at-large invite to a BCS school.

The only clunker in that setup is that some conference champs would be playing in the play in round, which wouldn’t sit well. And the typical BCS bias in seeding. The only way to overcome thatw ould be to use computer models (RPI, Sagarin) to seed teams.

Okay, rip me to pieces…

A big problem now is unbalanced conference schedules because the leagues have too many teams.

So what used to be an accmplishment (10-6 in a BCS conference) is no longer a big deal, yet it is perceived that way.

West Virginia went 9-7 in the Big East, but only because it feasted on the bottom feaders. Purdue had a similar situation in the Big 10, as did Kansas State in the Big 12.

Teams like Illinois and Purdue had a ton of opportunities to get major wins, but didn’t. At least Texas Tech took advantage of playing some big teams and winning, as did FSU, but was on the short end of the stick.

It’s good like it is. I wouldn’t expand it. If you did, I’d expand it by no more than 16 teams, and have playins for the right to play the top four seeds in each regional.

And I hate the RPI. I don’t want anything decided by computer. Teams should have to pass the sniff test to get in.

I hope they don’t expand the tourney, what a bunch of crap that will be…it’ll be like bowl games in college football

[QUOTE=Mike_Persinger;224258]And I hate the RPI. I had much rather have the sports writers decide the best teams.[/QUOTE]



Heard a great idea last night from the Fl A&M coach. He was complaining about playing in the play in game, stating they won their league etc… His idea, was to have the last 2 at large teams selected play the play in game- with the winner becoming the 12 seed the given region.

Everyone can come up with an idea that benefits them. Human nature. The worst two teams in the field, at-large or automatic, should have to play in the play-in, period.

While expanding the field is an option, I would advocate that what ever happens that the mid-major conf/tourny winners get the top half of the draw by rule. It agravates me that Winthrop or another small school wins almost all their games and is rewarded with having to play in a 15 or 16 vs 1 or 2 match up. I would like to see these schools be seeded higher. I always was of the opinion that the last teams in should be the ones playing the #1 and #2 seeds. I know that means a much tougher game for the #1s and #2s and it risks a #1 or #2 going out of the tourny early, but it seems appropriate. Now if you expanded the field by 32, and had the at large bids play an extra play in game ahead of the higher seed matchups it could balance things out.

[QUOTE=Mike_Persinger;224265]Everyone can come up with an idea that benefits them. Human nature. The worst two teams in the field, at-large or automatic, should have to play in the play-in, period.[/QUOTE]

I disagree. 31 teams are earn auto bids, they should be in the 64, 2 at large teams should batte it out to get in the real dance, period.

[QUOTE=s9er;224267]I disagree. 31 teams are earn auto bids, they should be in the 64, 2 at large teams should batte it out to get in the real dance, period.[/QUOTE]

Different strokes.

That’s what makes sports fun.

I agree with S9er on that point. Makes for a better TV game too? (open question)

[QUOTE=Mike_Persinger;224258]And I hate the RPI. I don’t want anything decided by computer. Teams should have to pass the sniff test to get in.[/QUOTE]

Nothing is decided by a computer. The decisions are still made by people and the RPI is just a tool they use to compare teams. It is a fair formula and everyone knows exactly what goes into it (quality of opponents, road/home wins, etc.). If you think the selection committee favors BCS conferences now, try eliminating the RPI and see what happens.

And I see no reason to expand the tournament. There is always controversy over bubble teams, but you will have that no matter how many teams you let in. The tournament is doing great (interest-wise) as it is and adding more teams would only water it down… and also make the first round even more difficult to televise. Don’t mess with a good thing.

[QUOTE=Mike_Persinger;224268]Different strokes.

That’s what makes sports fun.[/QUOTE]

I was kidding on the period part.

NA makes a good point about TV, you should have a good game between 2 name programs to kick it off, advancing to the 12 see doesn’t penalize them.

IMO regardless of how strong or weak a team is, if you earn the automatic bid you have done all that you can. Let the teams who make the dance by subjective measures duke it out to see who makes the 64.

It is less punative to the little guy. The last 2 or 3 at large teams are always debated from Sunday till tip on Thursday, let them play their way in.

More intrigue without changing the numbers.

That play-in game should be between at-large teams, even if those at-large teams are BCS schools. A conference champion should never penalized by having to play the play-in game. Of course, both Packers and Mike P will always whine about sensible ideas like this.

Here’s another idea that would occasionally affect certain teams: Allow no more than half of the conference members of any given conference to go to the dance. Of course, this would not affect us since the A10 is not very likely to send more than 7 teams any time soon.

I think you should have to play road OOC games. Make it something like 40% of your games or something. Its stupid that schools like Syracuse get to play all their home games. Your more likely to win those games at home. Then if the team meets those qualifications can they play in the tourny.

I also think they should do a “who you think should get in” team. Take all the teams who had a shot to get it, and all the teams who are top 75 or 100 or somehing, and let people vote on them. Then places like NNN can co-ordinate votes and decide who gets in.

Like the saying goes, “if it aint broke, don’t fix it.” Sure, a team like Syracuse would claim it’s “broke” right about now. But good teams getting left out are part of the deal when it comes to March Madness. There will always be 2-3 teams who have no business getting in and 2-3 who had no business being left out. It makes for good controversy that come Thursday, everyone will forget about unless you’re a Syracuse or Drexel fan. And even most of those will move on once the NIT starts.

I don’t want to see the tournament watered down. I can definitely accept regular season champs getting an auto-bid though. However, I’d vote for doing away with auto-bids for conference tournament winners if that was implemented. Any team can get hot for 3-4 days but truly good teams win the regular season more often than not. But, with that said, without the Tourney auto-bid, a lot of teams would never sniff the NCAA Tournament. It would even hurt a team like us, who had no shot of playing beyond last Wednesday if not for the auto-bid of winning 4 straight games.

So, when I weight the pros/cons of expanding the field, I just have to remain somewhat of a purist and leave it as-is. I can definitely go for doing away with the post season NIT. I’ve never liked it and I never will, even if the Niners are playing in it. The preseason NIT should be tweaked to increase it’s value/appeal while just scrapping the postseason NIT. I know it won’t happen and I know the benefits of playing in the postseason NIT over not playing at all. But I have zero interest in that tournament.