Thursday, March 19, 2009

EXPANDING THE BIG DANCE INTO A BIG CUMBERSOME FANCY BALL

Every year there is much whining and complaining about who doesn’t get into the 65 team field for the NCAA championship. If it isn’t my guy got fouled and it wasn’t called, so we couldn’t inbound the ball, and score (which we hadn’t done hardly any of in the last three minutes preceding), we would have won that conference tournament game and made it to the Big Dance (you know who you are!), it’s just a simple case of some other unranked team winning a conference tournament (USC, Mississippi State or Temple) which takes away a bid for a deserving at-large team (such as St. Mary’s).

Once the arguing stops – and the boys on ESPN were arguing on Sunday night complete with raised voices and red faces – the ever popular “cooler heads” start suggesting alternatives.

Bobby Knight has consistently suggested adding 63 more teams and making it a 128 team tournament, with opening round being played on the home court of the higher seeded teams. We aren’t too keen on this option unless the NCAA tournament simply added another game to the neutral site. No reason for Morehead State to have to play "at" Louisville. The NCAA can afford one more game on the Tuesday before the Thursday games. Give all the teams the “tournament experience.”

Last year, we suggested merging the Group W Tournament (N.I.T.) (which is already owned by the NCAA) into the Big Dance to create a Bigger Dance. The top 32 teams would get a by, and the other 64 would have a first round at the current first round venues on Tuesday.

None of these is likely to happen, but ESPN’s Mike Tericho made a rather simple suggestion regarding the current play-in game. Let Alabama State and Morehead State play the first round in the tournament – they won their conferences, they deserve it. Make the play in game between the two lowest seeded at-large teams – two teams like Arizona and Minnesota.

There, problem solved.

(AP Photos/Carolyn Kaster and Charlie Riedel)

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