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NCAA Expands To Only 68 Teams, Regular Season To Retain Meaning

SPOKANE, WA - MARCH 19:  The Maryland Terrapins mascot performs during a pause in the action against the Houston Cougars during the first round of the 2010 NCAA menÕs basketball tournament at Spokane Arena on March 19, 2010 in Spokane, Washington.  (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)
Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images
Scott HarrisFeatured ColumnistApril 22, 2010

Thank Gosh. Yes indeed. Thank that great, benevolent, white-bearded Gosh up on his cloud in the sky for extending His divine finger and touching the relevant decision-making cortices of the NCAA braintrust, for today they have announced that the tournament has gone to 68 teams, rather than 96.

Instead of the 31-team expansion that was initially bandied about by the NCAA and subsequently bandied right into The Sewerway of Broken Ideas by various fans and media members, the expansion will stop at three. Does this mean there will now be FOUR play-in games instead of just one? Don't jinx it! Don't jinx it! I'm hesitant to even type that out. But man...can you imagine the ratings on that? Man !

Speaking of ratings, they also announced a new TV deal that will run through 2024. In addition to CBS staying at the helm (woo-hoo!), the Turner Broadcasting family (TNT, TBS, etc.) will also join in, presumably so that more games can be aired simultaneously (double woo-hoo!). The deal is worth $10.8 billion total. I am not a keen observer of the telecommunications industry, but my amateur's guess would be to label that as "lucrative."

So...is...is this good news? I mean, really good news? I...I think it is. Especially for fans who follow bigger schools and conferences and, like, like there to be more important basketball games, not less.

Three cheers for continuing to enjoy meaningful college basketball for five months out of the year, instead of just one.  Huzzah!

This is also posted at www.shell-games.com .

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