NCAA Tourney expanding... but only to 68!?

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NCAA Tourney expanding... but only to 68!?

Post by PilotNut on Thu Apr 22, 2010 10:00 am

This is great news... while I am not a fan of further expansion of the tourney (in fact I would vote for moving it back to 64 teams), the NCAA elects a 68-team format instead of the 96 teams previously discussed.

I assume this means 4 "play-in" games on Tuesday, instead of 1. (Hey, how about making those play-in games be for the last 4 at large teams? If you win your conference auto-bid, you can bypass the play-in!?!) And how great will it be to have 4 networks carrying the games?!

Oregonian Update

NCAA to expand March Madness from 65 to 68 teams

By The Associated Press

INDIANAPOLIS The NCAA is on the verge of expanding the men's basketball tournament from 65 to 68 teams beginning next year and announced a new, $10.8 billion broadcasting deal with CBS Sports and Turner Broadcasting today that will allow every game to be shown live for the first time.

"This is an important day for intercollegiate athletics and the 400,000 student-athletes who compete in NCAA sports," interim NCAA president Jim Isch said. "This agreement will provide on average more than $740 million annually to our conferences and member schools."

Any move had hinged on the NCAA's $6 billion, 11-year television deal with CBS. The deal, signed in 1999, had a mutual opt-out until July 31 and the NCAA took it amid speculation that ESPN might become a partner in one of the most popular and lucrative tournaments in sports.

Instead, the NCAA struck a 14-year agreement with CBS and Turner Broadcasting System Inc. The deal, which runs from 2011 through 2024, will show every game live across four national networks for the first time in the tournament's 73-year history.

Sean McManus, president of CBS News and Sports, said the "new strategic partnership" was a core asset and a profitable one.

The men's tournament last expanded in 2001, adding one team to the 64-team field that was set in 1985, and talk of tweaking March Madness again had generated a lot of criticism from fans and bracket-fillers worried about watering down the competition.

The NCAA studied expanding the tournament to 68, 80 or even 96 teams, with the latter option likely enveloping the 32-team NIT. But the NCAA said that the Division I Men's Basketball Committee unanimously passed the 68-team proposal and it will be reviewed by the Board of Directors on April 29.

The proposal is strictly for the men's tournament. Another NCAA committee is looking at whether to expand the women's tournament or keep it in the current format.

-- The Associated Press

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Re: NCAA Tourney expanding... but only to 68!?

Post by pilotram on Thu Apr 22, 2010 11:36 am

(Hey, how about making those play-in games be for the last 4 at large teams? If you win your conference auto-bid, you can bypass the play-in!?!)
I like this. Give the little conference winner a reward bigger than certain slaughter by a 1 seed. At the same time, the marketing people (who are out to destroy everything good about college sports) would probably feel better about selling a 1-seed vs. another bigger-market team in the first round.

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Re: NCAA Tourney expanding... but only to 68!?

Post by Geezaldinho on Thu Apr 22, 2010 11:40 am

pilotram wrote:
(Hey, how about making those play-in games be for the last 4 at large teams? If you win your conference auto-bid, you can bypass the play-in!?!)
I like this. Give the little conference winner a reward bigger than certain slaughter by a 1 seed. At the same time, the marketing people (who are out to destroy everything good about college sports) would probably feel better about selling a 1-seed vs. another bigger-market team in the first round.

you mean the last 8 at large?

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Re: NCAA Tourney expanding... but only to 68!?

Post by DaTruRochin on Thu Apr 22, 2010 12:04 pm

Agreed, I think it's cowardly of the NCAA to force 2 autobids to play for the right to play in the "real" tournament, even if they are coming from smaller conferences. Why not have those guys be 14-15 seeds and let the bottom 8 be those at large bigger programs? I think if nothing else it would REALLY generate interest in those play in games and give more advert. $$$ But again, I'm not sure the good ol boy network would ever allow that....

(I apologize if I regurgitated what was already said, I may or may not need more coffee)

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Re: NCAA Tourney expanding... but only to 68!?

Post by Geezaldinho on Thu Apr 22, 2010 12:31 pm

DaTruRochin wrote: At least we can be assured of more years of GU fans griping people can't pronounce their school's name (Even though technically they mis-pronounce the Spanish Italian pronunciation, but who am I to judge...)

fixed your post

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aloysius_Gonzaga

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Re: NCAA Tourney expanding... but only to 68!?

Post by DaTruRochin on Thu Apr 22, 2010 12:33 pm

Haha, either way, it's wrong... (I am a horrible product of Jesuit education... I blame Holy Cross. Razz )

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Re: NCAA Tourney expanding... but only to 68!?

Post by Geezaldinho on Thu Apr 22, 2010 12:48 pm

coulda been worse. They could have named the school after THIS Gonzaga

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Silvio_Valenti_Gonzaga


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Re: NCAA Tourney expanding... but only to 68!?

Post by mattywizz on Thu Apr 22, 2010 6:17 pm

What I really like is that they call it a 65 team tournamnet but the play-in game doesn't really count as a tournament game. Really, can Mt. St. Mary's (or whoever it was that won the play-in game) count the win as a "tournament win"? I don't think that it is really counted as a tournament game.

Technically, the 16 seed is the only seed guaranteed to win a game in the tourney.

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Re: NCAA Tourney expanding... but only to 68!?

Post by samalamadingdong on Fri Apr 23, 2010 10:47 am

The problem with having bubble teams battle it out in the play in game is you will have all of the number 1 seeds complaining. Remember a few years ago when Arizona was a bubble at large team? There would be some pretty grumpy "protected" seeds if they had to play someone other than what is considered to be a cupcake.


BTW I hate the entire play-in game concept.

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Re: NCAA Tourney expanding... but only to 68!?

Post by Stonehouse on Fri Apr 23, 2010 11:51 am

If it basically comes down to the fact that the networks need more games to justify the cost of broadcasting it, well... there are a lot worse things than play-in games. Remember, March Madness funds something like 95% of what the NCAA does, including things like paying for the championship tournaments of all the non-revenue sports. The NCAA doesn't get a cent from football - all its money comes from the men's basketball tournament.

For play-in games, I can see it both ways. On one hand, it makes sense that the eight weakest teams should have to play each other to make it. Yes, it sucks for the smaller conferences, but... if we're going to be honest for a minute, those teams are indeed weaker than pretty much all of the so-called "bubble teams". Heck, a team like Portland probably would have won several of those conferences.

On the other hand, there is such poetry in every team going into the season knowing that if they win their conference tournament, they are going to the Big Dance. Some of the magic is lost if we totally abandon that principle.

Furthermore, in terms of TV viewership... it would seem to me that a game featuring, for instance, Michigan vs. Virginia Tech for one at-large bid would generate a lot more interest than Bethune-Cookman vs. Lehigh fighting for the right to get slaughtered by Kansas. Plus, it would force those bubble teams to earn their way into the tournament rather than just sweating it out on selection Sunday. I like that aspect of it.

Of course, there are issues with seeding... it's much cleaner if teams are battling for a 16 seed. If you were to pit at-large candidats together, would they be for the 11 seeds? 12 seeds?

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Re: NCAA Tourney expanding... but only to 68!?

Post by DaTruRochin on Fri Apr 23, 2010 12:19 pm

I was just pondering that myself, haha it would be kind of ridiculous for a #1 to have to face some bubble team, and if the bubble team were to win, they theoretically would have an easier path than, say, a #2 seed. I don't know, i love college ball, but I don't think i've every actually watched a play-in game, the quality is often so much lower than other games, it kind of feels like spending time eating mc donalds when the following day you get a full slow-cooked gourmet bbq (haha can you tell I'm ready for lunch)

While having a "big" name on the bubble with the potential of losing, wouldn't that make the play ins more intriging/have an increased viewership anyway?? I mean if a big time team has a crappy enough season that they are on the bubble anyway, shouldn't they just be happy to have a shot at all?? I know the $$$ of having the big guys in the "real" tourney is the allure, even if they were bubble squads. I'm really on the fence on this situation...

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Re: NCAA Tourney expanding... but only to 68!?

Post by PurplePrideTrumpet on Fri Apr 23, 2010 12:44 pm

DaTruRochin wrote: it kind of feels like spending time eating mc donalds when the following day you get a full slow-cooked gourmet bbq (haha can you tell I'm ready for lunch)
But when McRib comes back you can have the best of both worlds...

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Re: NCAA Tourney expanding... but only to 68!?

Post by Geezaldinho on Fri Apr 23, 2010 12:47 pm

I think the lowest seed in each BCS conference should have to play in.

I mean, if you are only the 5th or 6th best team in your conference, why shouldn't it be a little harder on you?

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Re: NCAA Tourney expanding... but only to 68!?

Post by DaTruRochin on Fri Apr 23, 2010 1:12 pm

No I agree with that completely, BUT at the same time if you do that, is it fair to the #1 seed to have to face a BCS squad in the first round? Stoney brough this up, but if that's the case, should the play in game seed in around the 10-12 range instead of to the 16? (it gets more and more complicated the more I think about it)

But when McRib comes back you can have the best of both worlds...
Shudder....

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Re: NCAA Tourney expanding... but only to 68!?

Post by Geezaldinho on Fri Apr 23, 2010 1:14 pm

The reality is that the play-in teams will be the mid majors.

Like all other NCAA committees, the 6 BCS conferences have 60% of the voting by statute on the selection and seeding committees.

How do you think they are going to vote?

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Re: NCAA Tourney expanding... but only to 68!?

Post by DaTruRochin on Fri Apr 23, 2010 3:38 pm

I guess the bottom line is if they are just going to slowly add "play in games" why not just go all out with the 96 now and let us get used to it?

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Re: NCAA Tourney expanding... but only to 68!?

Post by onetouchfutbol on Sat Apr 24, 2010 9:26 am

DaTruRochin wrote:I guess the bottom line is if they are just going to slowly add "play in games" why not just go all out with the 96 now and let us get used to it?

Obviously, they are listening to the "purists" who feel like 64-65 teams is some kind of perfection. But, in the end, I think that the green stuff ($) will win out and the tourney will just keep expanding. I'm all for more mid-majors making the tourney and the potential for more Cinderella stories, but, along with that there will likely be a few more blowouts too now and then. I'd rather expand it to 96 teams than have to deal with additional trivial tourneys that have no money for broadcasting and could go defunct at anytime. I'm all for potential Cinderella's. Watching Butler this year was great.

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