Morehead State-Alabama State: Eagles Play In, Should More Teams Have the Chance?

Ryan NeisesContributor IMarch 19, 2009

I’ve been to every play-in game in Dayton, OH since it was added to NCAA Tournament. 
This year was a little different. Both teams I saw looked a lot more athletic and skilled than any team I’ve seen in the game.
Plus, since Morehead is just a state away, the fans really showed up, and over 11,000 people filled the stands of UD Arena.
The game was a little bit of a snore, but showed me a lot.  Despite having the best name in sports ever, Chief Kickingstallionsims couldn’t get it going against the Eagles.
Who really impressed me was Kenneth Faried of Morehead State who had 14 points and 21 boards despite being five inches shorter than the Chief.

Morehead State’s style of play is up tempo and has decent guards. I know that they lost to Louisville by 38 earlier in the year, but this seems like a team who has gotten a lot better.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not calling for an upset by any stretch, I just wouldn’t be surprised if Morehead State keeps it very close for 20-30 minutes and loses by 15.

Look at this way, Morehead State is in the state of Kentucky, and despite the University of Kentucky, Louisville has to be the team that will get them fired up to shock the world on a national stage.  I think it’ll be tough to beat an in-state team twice in a year by as much as they did earlier in the year.

Still a win, just not a HUGE one.

As for the play-in game itself,  I’ve always enjoyed watching it.

I know a lot of people don’t care and continue to insult the game because it’s two teams who they don’t know about and don’t care to know about.

I will tell you one thing though, if the format stays the same, people better start paying attention to this game, because the teams are getting better.

One thing about the past couple years in the NCAA Tournament that I’ve noticed is that the 13-14-and 15-seeded teams are a lot better than the past, and it’s only a matter of time before a 16 beats a top seed.

With all that being said, I want to make a proposal, obviously to the NCAA because I know they read my stuff, about the future of the play-in game.

Obviously, the idea has been thrown out there to make the game include two bubble teams playing to be a 12 or 13 seed.

This would avoid putting any teams who earned their way in by winning their conference tournament in the game on Tuesday.

I like this idea, but I might tweak it a little. I’m not sure if this has been thrown out or not, but I think you could include a full day of games on Tuesday and make it an event.  Take an extra three bubble teams and put eight teams (the last four in and last four out) against each other.

Four games on that Tuesday for the right to play in the NCAA Tournament starting Thursday. There absolutely wouldn’t be a lack of interest or debate from coaches, because every coach in America wants to expand the field.

Now, this probably won’t happen. The format is there and will probably stay in place.  My only suggestion to the committee is in the future to eliminate anybody who won both their conference tournament and regular season title from the play-in game.

I don’t like the fact that Alabama State has won all year and still had to play their way in. They won 22 games and were a No. 1 seed in their conference tournament.

They took care of business and still had to win another win for the right to play Louisville. Morehead State didn’t win their conference tournament and maybe deserved to be in the play-in game.

It doesn’t matter what they do with it, I will still go as long as I can. And I hope it doesn’t leave Dayton, because there isn’t much else here to do.