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Thursday, April 22, 2010

Holy Crap. The NCAA Got It RIGHT!

Color me shocked. Shocked, I tell you. The NCAA is near completing a deal that would merely expand the NCAA Tournament from 65 to 68 games, versus the dreaded 96-team scenario that many sports fan feared was on the horizon.

I can live with 68. In a lot of respects, it actually makes more sense to have 68 teams (with four play-in games versus just one) than 65. The lone play-in game we've had since the tournament expanded to 65 years ago just felt like a slapped-on, foreign entity, not part of the larger tournament. Now, with four play-in games, there's a greater opportunity to promote those games as a package leading up to the NCAA tournament.

A friend of mine proposed this idea, which I like:
Turn that first Tuesday into a mini tournament atmosphere. Have all 4 games at the same place on the same day. It'll be more fun for the teams involved. -- Scott M.
Sounds good to me, and I agree. Dayton has embraced the one play-in game with open arms, and I imagine they would salivate at the opportunity to host not just one but four games as an all-day affair.

So props to the NCAA for getting it right. They could've looked strictly at dollar signs and probably gotten more cash from ESPN/ABC for a 96-team field. But they heard the customers that have made the tournament so popular over the last 30 years, and brokered a deal with CBS and Turner that maximizes the revenue while impacting the total product--both the tournament and college basketball on the whole--the least.

It could always expand further in the future, but for now, I'm on board.


  1. It does knock us off the bubble