NCAA Tournament Expansion: Reactions To Expansion of 68 Teams, Not 96

Jonah PulsCorrespondent IApril 24, 2010

INDIANAPOLIS - APRIL 02:  A general view of the logo at center court of Lucas Oil Stadium prior to the 2010 Final Four of the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament on April 2, 2010 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

The Big Dance has gotten a little bit bigger, but not to the extent of what the NCAA was discussing.

An expansion to 96 teams?


An expansion to 68 teams?

Yes, the NCAA Tournament is now going to be a field of 68.

Most are relieved that it was not turned into a field of 96, because they believe it would have ruined the reputation of the best tournament in the history of sports.

So, as fans have discussed what their thoughts are on the whole situation, several people have also gives some information on what they were thinking about an expansion to 96 teams.

Here are some things players had to say:

“I haven’t met not one that likes 96,” D.J. Gay, a San Diego State Aztecs guard, said. “It goes from the Big Dance to just a dance."

“Not one person that I talked to,” Arizona State guard Jamelle McMillan said

Jamelle McMillan's team was a bubble team this year that, unfortunately, had their bubble popped.

Even McMillan, who would support a tournament expansion this year, thinks an expansion to 96 teams would have been too much.

“It was more of being competitors,” McMillan said. “Guys around here and from other teams definitely did not agree with that many teams in the tournament, and for good reason. We want to play for something, and (96) seems like it’s given. It’s the easy way, so to speak. Ninety six was completely far-fetched.”

He is completely in favor with an expansion to 68 teams though, because he believes it will help a few more deserving teams.

There are more players than those of bubble teams who dislike the idea of an expansion to 96 teams.

“It just ruins it,” Santa Clara forward Niyi Harrison said. “Once you make it, it’s not the same feeling you get.

“I’ve followed the tournament my whole life. If they made it 96, that would just kill the whole feeling.”

I think it is clear that many players, fans, coaches, and even bracketologists like Joe Lunardi are relieved about the news of the expansion to 68 instead of 96.

Here is what Joe Lunardi has to say about the situation:

"Thank heavens the powers-that-be came to their senses..."

"We assume, without confirmation, that the additional three teams will result in opening round games among typical No. 15 and No. 16 seeds. I suppose this leaves open the possibility, however remote, that the new opening round could instead involve the cut line of the at-large pool as opposed to the weakest automatic qualifiers."

"Thank heavens the powers-that-be came to their senses..."

"I hope at some point that an opening round doubleheader could be played at the Palestra in Philadelphia, which for a long time held the record for most NCAA tournament games hosted."

"Thank heavens the powers-that-be came to their senses..."

"We will see a No. 1 seed finally lose to a No. 16 seed sooner rather than later. The level of competition for top seeds in the first round is about to go up (not dramatically, but just enough to turn years of near-misses into the occasional historic upset)."

"Did I mention how great it is that the powers-that-be came to their senses?"

It is apparent to me that Lunardi did not support the idea of a field of 96, and he is now delighted to see it never happened.

Although I am a supporter of 96 teams, I am pleased that they did keep it to 68, because I have noticed that many people are upset by the idea.

I just hope that now that the tournament has changed, everything will calm down and we can get back to the basic idea of the tournament; sit back, relax, and watch some the great sport of college basketball.

With the new broadcasting deal CBS has made to televise every game in tournament, next year could be a great one!

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