NCAA plans to expand men’s basketball tournament: A non-starter

Indianapolis hosts the NCAA's 2010 Final Four tournament.

Word has it the NCAA is discussing plans to expand the men’s basketball tournament to 96 teams, expanding from the current 65 team format.

Terrible idea! The NCAA would go from March Madness to acting like April fools.

Such a move would water down the quality and excitement of the existing tournament. It would further demean what’s seemingly special about the relative purity of  college basketball; a place where smaller, winning colleges get a crack at upsetting basketball giants like Kansas, Kentucky and Syracuse.

It would also signal an end to the National Invitation Tournament (NIT), ending its 72-year run as a place for the “close, but no cigar” teams to go for one last shot of glory.

Dayton used its quickness to race to a 79-68 win over North Carolina in the championship game of the NIT. Photo: Associated Press

Did North Carolina (20-17) really deserve to be in the NCAA tournament this year? Did North Carolina’s loss to Dayton in the NIT finals  give Tar Heels coach Roy Williams extra motivation to get back to NCAA post season play?  I hope it does. It might not have had the Tar Heels played with 95 other teams in an expanded NCAA tournament.

If this year’s NCAA has proven anything, it’s that great parity drives great upsets and more fan participation without eroding quality.  Why water that concept down with more teams who barely pass the “not quite good enough” test.

Simply adding more teams to the NCAA tournament diminishes recognition for the teams that put together the best regular season records.

Many teams with mediocre records already get an extra shot at NCAA post season play anyway if they win conference post-season tournaments.  In one-and-done tournaments like the NCAA, better teams can lose on a cold or unlucky night to mediocre teams that get lucky and hot.

Simply adding more teams to the NCAA post season tournament would guarantee the NCAA millions of dollars in additional revenue. But, like the dozens (35 ) of meaningless post-season football bowl games today,  dumping more teams into NCAA post season play would both diminish and tarnish the elite concept of the tournament.

Shouldn’t post season play be for the chosen few, not the bloated slew?  Let’s keep it that way.

What do you think?

About Bernard McCoy

My views are my own and not a reflection of my employer. I'm a professor of Journalism at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. I've also been a working journalist for the past 29 years. I have covered news stories in war zones, reported on human and natural disasters, presidential conventions, a presidential inauguration and the September 11th, 2001 attack on the World Trade Center in New York City. My career experiences include work as an award-winning documentary producer, television news reporter, photographer, producer, and anchor. I worked at WIBW-TV, Topeka, KS., KCTV, Kansas City, MO, WKBD-TV, Detroit, MI., WILX-TV, Lansing, MI. and WBNS-TV, Columbus, OH. I have also worked as a contributing reporter for The Columbus Dispatch, Associated Press, CBS, CNN, the Ohio News Network and lecture at the Kosovo Institute of Journalism and Communications. I have a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Kansas and a master’s degree in telecommunications management from Michigan State University.
This entry was posted in 30017222, broadcasting, education, Kansas, NCAA, North Carolina, Sports, Syracuse, Tar Heels, television, The United States, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

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