In the midst of one of the most scintillating NCAA Basketball tournaments in recent memory, a serious question has arisen:
What is the need for expanding the tournament field?
The 65-team field has clearly proved to be a complete success that in no way is in need of altering.
But rumor has it; the field next year is likely to consist of 96 teams. 31 more teams in the tourney. Can this honestly be a good idea?
On Selection Sunday the committee already seems to be scraping the barrel to add semi competitive teams to the bracket. Imagine adding 31 more of those teams. The tournament would consist of numerous under .500 big conference teams and multiple second tier small conference teams.
This major expansion would certainly water down the field and add a whole extra round. Not saying the games wouldn’t be exciting or competitive, but to allow teams in without so much as to winning their conference tournament feels wrong.
If the NCAA is that desperate to expand, then how about just increasing the tournament field to 68 teams?
This would get three more teams in easily. There would then be four play-in games instead of one as the bottom eight teams of the field would battle for the respective 16th seed of each region.
These games usually consist of the bottom feeding teams in the tournament that are usually just happy to have won their own conference tourney. It wouldn’t be too shocking if suddenly the 1 v. 16 games suddenly became slightly more competitive.
It is quite clear that the wrong college sport is the one that looks likely to change its postseason.
On one hand is college basketball, which clearly has a successful playoff that is filled with star players, exciting competitive games, huge ratings, and a certain crowned champion at the end of it all.
On the other hand you have college football. A botched system filled with debate which almost always crowns a controversial champion while robbing numerous college athletes and teams a fair shot at the title.
And college basketball is in the hurry to alter their postseason? Confusing, right?
Hardcore sports fans have just about had it with all the bogus justification to keep the BCS around. These claims that college football wouldn’t make as much money or that attendance would decline are just absurd.
Just the thought of an eight-team playoff for NCAA Football makes people salivate. It would be like a combination of the NFL Playoffs and March Madness.
Instead, the NCAA will continue to create more excuses for the BCS system. From loyalty to the bowls to student exam schedules, fans have heard them all. I'm not saying that these issues aren’t important, but they can easily be worked around and sorted out, if and when they are given the proper attention.
If only the NCAA could take off their blinders and stop making all the old financial excuses and provide the nation with a legit playoff.
But apparently that is too much to ask for.