As March Madness draws to a close and the crowning of a new champ approaches, talks of expanding the tournament to 96 teams begins. The battle lines are clearly drawn and fence straddlers might get caught in the cross fire. It is with these elements in mind that I present a couple of reasons for NOT expanding the tournament.
I'm not going to write a book here, but the first and main reason is that it nullifies the season and the point of Conference tournaments. The big conferences get at large bids, which if you string together a good body of work and maintain a high RPI is a just reward. Then you have the automatic bids to teams who win the conference tournament which is a mini gauntlet in itself. If you're a team that plays in a smaller conference or you're scraping the bottom of the barrel in a "power" conference then the tourney becomes a means to an end. The current layout of limited slots after at large bids conference tourneys (especially for smaller ones) become action packed and drama filled. To sum it up the conference tourney is the true essence of March Madness, because of the action and drama of certain team circumstances.
My last (but certainly not least) argument has to do wit the NIT. The NIT or National Invitational Tournament has a long and storied history. While the NIT has been condescended as the other tourney or standing for Not In Tournament, its purpose has been to provide those coming up short with another chance at post season play. There are somethings that shouldn't be touched and the NIT is one of them.
So in essence what I'm saying is that expanding the NCAA tournament nullifies the point of putting together a good body of work during the season, castrates the conference tourneys and buries the NIT. The move to me reeks of commercialism in an economy in dire straits. In other words, the more teams in the more money the NCAA and colleges make.
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