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Why the NCAA Tournament Should Be Expanded to 128 Teams

INDIANAPOLIS - MARCH 29:  Kalin Lucas #1 of the Michigan State Spartans celebrates after he cut down a piece of the net following their 64-52 win against the Louisville Cardinals the Michigan State Spartans during the fourth round of the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament at the Lucas Oil Stadium on March 29, 2009 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Paul SwaneySenior Analyst IApril 4, 2009

Why have four separate tournaments, when you could have one ultimate extravaganza? With last year's addition of the CBI tournament, and this year's new CIT, the number of teams in the postseason has grown to 129.

As someone who intently watched both the NIT and CBI, I know there is room for more basketball. Why can't we make the great even greater. I'm one of those who believes that you can never have too much of a good thing.

First, some logistical changes. There would need to be eight brackets with sixteen team, but having eight brackets would allow for better geographic seating, doing away with the ridiculous pod system. Geographic brackets would include northwest, west, southwest, southeast, east, northeast, midwest, and central.

Once teams were seeded, there would be television considerations to make. For those of you who consider the first days of the NCAA tournament a religious holiday, then there's good news. Your holiday just got extended. The first round would expand to three days with 16 games on Wednesday, 24 on Thursday, and 24 on Friday.

CBS would be able to feature quintuple header action on Thursday and Friday with games starting at 11am ET, and continuing at 1:30pm, 4pm, 6:30pm, and 9pm. Saturday and Sunday of the first weekend would look similar to the current Thursday/Friday format.

At the end of the first weekend we would be left with 32 teams. Action would resume on the next Thursday and Friday with eight games to be played each day. Saturday and Sunday would feature Sweet Sixteen match-ups leaving eight teams moving into the third and final weekend of the tournament.

For the final weekend, games would be played on consecutive days, just like they are in conference tournaments—meaning you would have to win three games in three days to be NCAA champion.

Talk about three great weekends of college basketball! More teams would be included, fans would get more games, more cities could host games, television would make more money, and the NCAA would make more money. How could this possibly be bad?

One additional change would add greater value to the regular season—all conference regular season champions would be granted bids to the tournament, as well as conference tournament winners. This would leave 66 at large bids.

As you watch the Final Four festivities, just keep this in mind—what if there were four great games today, instead of two?

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