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How To Fix NCAA Tournament

Posted by davefowkes on 03/17/2009

If I could be boss for a day of the NCAA Tournament Committee, I would make a couple of adjustments to the tournament:

1. No conference can send over half of its members.

2. It is somewhat redundant, but all teams must be at least 500 or better in their conference to be eligible.

Just because there are super conferences it does not mean that everybody should get to go to the tournament. The tournament should be a reward for a great season. It should not be automatic just because your conference is strong any given year. Had it not been for all the surprise tournament winners this year, there is a good chance that Penn State would have made the field and that would mean 8 teams from the Big 10. 8 or 11 teams would go to the post season. Why play a conference schedule then?

By limiting the field to just half of each conference it puts a huge emphasis back on to conference play. You may look good on paper, you may have had a great pre-season, but if you can not finish in the top half of your league, why should you go to a playoff? The non-conference schedule is clearly important for resume building and the likes, but this would put a lot of pressure back into conference play making January and February that much more interesting!

In terms of the “eye” test that we hear so much about this time of year, do we really need 7 or 8 teams from the Big 10? Do we really need 6 teams from the Pac Ten?

By making sure everyone is at least 500 to qualify, you again insure that successful teams are making it rather than just good teams that are not playing well the last 2 months of the season.

Sure, every year there will be a few really good teams in really good conferences that will be left out, but bottom line, each team will have the opportunity by just winning HALF of their conference games.

Now if we implemented my new rules this year, we would lose Arizona and then two out of Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin Big 10 representatives and Maryland who was under 500 in the conference and the 7th team in a 12-team league. That opens up four spots. My hunch is St. Mary’s, Creighton, Auburn and South Carolina would fill the void. But San Diego State, Niagara, UNLV and others would still be in the conversation.

Now by my system, I have limited some of the mediocrity out of the big conferences, and I have spread the wealth to two mid-majors and two other mediocre BCS schools. But by providing limitations on each conference, at least it will open the field up more to new teams, more mid-majors, and the potential for more exciting match ups of David vs Goliath which is what makes the first two rounds of the tournament so special!

Okay, now I will wake up from my dream because we all know the BCS schools would never relinquish such control as above. But it certainly would be nice if they could!


2 Responses to “How To Fix NCAA Tournament”

  1. chris filippi said

    It’s time to faze out the middling majors. Only four at-large bids for mid majors is ridiculous beyond belief. How can you leave quality teams like Creighton, St. Mary’s and San Diego State out? If those teams are undeserving, then why is everyone saying this might be the strongest NIT field ever?

    Just because you’re from a super conference does not mean you have a super team.

  2. Tim said

    I agree 100% on everything you said. The idea of having 6th, 7th, and 8th place teams in power conferences like the Big East and the Big Ten get an at-large bid over a team who is in 2nd, 3rd, or even won their mid-major conference is a crime. The committee is literally stealing an opportunity and a learning experience for these kids who gave their hearts out every game just to make it there, and then for them to be told they weren’t good enough, but a 7th place team in the Big East is?

    The NCAA selection committee needs to get their heads out of their you-know-whats and realize what they’re doing. The name of the conference is not what they’re choosing, it’s the talented groups of players from smaller and less publicized schools that are getting the chance at a once in a lifetime opportunity, or at least they should be…

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