From 1946 until 1981, the NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Championship featured a consolation third-place game.
Virginia beat LSU, 78-74, for the bronze in the last consolation offered.
Until 1975, there were also consolation games played in the regional finals. At the time, the tournament only invited 32 teams, making the third round the entry into the Final Four.
The school of thought in eliminating the games was that they were unnecessary and it was difficult to get teams motivated to play.
Piffle, I say.
The NIT plays a consolation game. If the consolation tournament can get kids to play a consolation game, surely the Big Dance can find a way to sneak this gem in after 30 years of dormancy.
These are the reasons why I believe it would work.