View Full Version : Katz on Expansion of NCAAs

11-06-2009, 10:53 AM
• The NCAA tournament selection committee met for three days this week in Houston, site of the 2011 Final Four. UCLA athletic director Dan Guerrero, the current committee chair, is expected to hold a teleconference Tuesday to discuss their meeting. The major issue facing the committee in the coming months is whether to opt out of the current CBS contract after this year. The contract ends in 2013. The issue of expansion could be in play too. Another point of discussion is the postseason NIT, as that television contract is nearing its conclusion.

It wouldn't make sense for the NCAA to re-up the NIT and then also expand the NCAA tournament to 96 teams. There are two different bodies making these decisions under the NCAA umbrella but they would have to be in concert. If the NIT stays for the long term then expanding the field of 65 is unlikely, though the NIT could still go away without expansion. The logistics of going to 96 and still keeping conference tournaments is another matter, too. I can't see conference tournaments disappearing, which would mean the season would have to start a week earlier in November or go a week longer into April.

I have heard both arguments on whether or not to expand. I'd like to see a compromise. Create four opening-round games, matching bubble teams for the 12th seed. Play those games on a Tuesday night and have them feed into Friday's 12-5 matchups. That way you're keeping the lower-seeded teams from 13-16 alone, thus giving the top seeds an advantage in their first-round games. This would allow for eight bubble teams to play into the field for four spots. Usually, that's the number of teams that are on the fence. Beyond that, the four extra teams that don't get into the Big Dance are really the ones that should be in the NIT or CBI or CIT. There aren't 27 other teams that were snubbed which should be in the field.

11-06-2009, 11:19 AM
Definitely some good ideas, BobZag. The only problem I have is that these "bubble teams" are bubble teams for a reason. Any team that goes 17-13 really shouldn't have much of a gripe about being left out of the tournament. How about winning a couple more games?

11-06-2009, 11:27 AM
might as well make the tourney 347 teams and start the tourney in the first part of November by the teams playing some non-conference games then finishing the season by playing conference games---then gather 64 teams to play in a final bracket to determine the champs---good grief---why fix what ain't broken y'all

11-06-2009, 11:35 AM
I like the idea... IMHO, play-in games should be for the bubble teams, NOT low-major teams that earned their way in only to have to "play-in". 12-14 seeds seem just about right. 96 teams... no friggin' way.... nuh-uh... no-way... no-how.

11-06-2009, 11:53 AM
i figure the more teams, the better-- the tournament is already about 300 teams-- most teams have a shot-- even the 8th place Pac-10 team could conceivably win out.

And I don't worry if the tournament goes to 128, and play all 64 games on the Tuesday-- what an absolute cluster, um, event :-) But it would be fun.

Think about the difference between this debate and the BCS Football debate. The NCAA has a vested financial interest in perpetuating the existence of useless and irrelevent bowl games while the national championship is a joke, usually.

Here we are talking about a real championship where the biggest drawback is that the regular season becomes less relevant. But if you go over .500 in your league in a BCS League, the regular season is already irrelevent-- in fact the regular season is all but irrelevent to all but the bubble mid-majors-- so expanding the tournament increases the chances for mid-majors to upset big league teams--thus I am in favor (and it will be less likely to happen).


11-06-2009, 11:55 AM
I'm for keeping it at 65. Diluting the product does not equate to improvement. But that's just my take, fwiw.

11-06-2009, 12:16 PM
TV and advertisers do not want the tournament expanded. 25% of U.S. office workers are annually involved in a pool, and if you start making that bracket two or three sheets, it's just going to cause problems for the casual college basketball fans who are responsible for making the tournament as popular as it is. The NCAA tournament is watched by more people than the NBA finals, the MLB World Series, etc. No matter how much the NCAA wants to disassociate itself from gambling, it is the horse that drives the wagon, and I thoroughly believe that expanding the tournament in a big way would really hurt its popularity.

The tournament is nearly perfect the way it is, although I do feel that the play in game should be for the final at large spot (winner gets a 12 seed). The people who are behind tourney expansion are coaches. They want more spots so there will be less firings. It's all aboout protecting their own self interest. There are coaches who are against the idea, but it tends to be guys like Roy Williams and Coach K who are in the dance every year.

BTW - I have zero sympathy for teams who are left out of the tournament. Frankly, the last 3 or 4 teams that are selected usually aren't good enough to make it, but the committee has to fill in those spots. My criticisms of the committee's work usually tend to revolve around seeding.....not who gets in and who gets left out.

11-06-2009, 12:32 PM
no matter how many teams are allowed in the tournament, there will ALWAYS be those that feel snubbed. expanding would not guarantee that all of those bubble teams would get a chance to play, it would just lower the bubble to include teams that are generally not in the discussion to get in the tournament as it is currently set up.

however, if it was expanded, i agree with others that it should be those 12 seed (or so) 'big boy' schools that should have to battle it out for inclusion with the rest of the 65. Leave Cornell and UCSB alone and let them have their shot at a top seed on opening thurs/fri.

11-06-2009, 01:46 PM
The tournament is nearly perfect the way it is, although I do feel that the play in game should be for the final at large spot (winner gets a 12 seed).

Agreed. I'm also a proponent of having a play-in game for each region.

So, 8 teams battling for the last 4 at-large berths. Winners get seeded into the bracket at 12, the higher seeding justified by the at large selection and the additional win. No auto bids in the play in games (which is a load of crock IMHO).

There will always be snubs. But this will at least give 3 more teams the opportunity to make the field, and get rid of the "if only we had the opportunity to play someone you'd SEE we're good enough" excuse of a few of the bubble team fanbases.

Edit: That's what I get for not reading the original post. Looks like BZ and I are on the same page.

11-06-2009, 02:26 PM
First off no expansion, but more importantly DROP CBS so I can watch the ENTIRE game i want to. A carrier that shows all 4 games start to finish by using mutiple channels would be amazing.

11-06-2009, 03:18 PM
I hope that the CBI doesn't go away. Where would the Huskies play and lose their post season game.

visit www.life-and-faith.org (http://www.life-and-faith.org)

11-06-2009, 03:54 PM
I like it the way it is... actually I liked it better without the play-in game.

I see the 'play-in' game(s) as the conference tournaments. Granted, not every conference has a tournament, but with a possible spot in the NCAA Tournament, the conference tournaments are more exciting- See Syracuse a few years back.

11-06-2009, 04:04 PM
There will always be bubble teams regardless of what the number is set at.

Don't diminish the value of accomplishment by watering down the numbers.

If they do expand the format, I would like to see it go in the direction of conference champions (regardless of conference) getting a bid whether they win the conference tournament or not.

This would create more bids for non BCS conferences. The result would be more recruiting opportunities for WCC-like schools.

11-06-2009, 04:23 PM
If they do expand the format, I would like to see it go in the direction of conference champions (regardless of conference) getting a bid whether they win the conference tournament or not.

I'd like to see that right now with the current 65 team field, but one bid leagues like the Atlantic Sun are willing to force their 16-0 league champ with a 7 man rotation to play 3 games in 3 days at some half empty arena in the middle of nowhere just so that the league can get a lousy game on ESPNU. If these leagues put their best teams in the dance, we would see more upsets and a better NCAA tournament. But that doesn't matter to them.

11-06-2009, 04:29 PM
First off no expansion, but more importantly DROP CBS so I can watch the ENTIRE game i want to. A carrier that shows all 4 games start to finish by using mutiple channels would be amazing.I was thinking that too, pizzasauce, and, almost as important (to me anyway) ditching this character ..


But wait! Who's keeping the fires warm back at ESPN???


Please, please, please let Jay Bilas w of his tournament coverage deal with CBS so he will be back at ESPN full time to cut off Vitale at the pass. Blurb from a randon site:


Jay Bilas Is No Dick Vitale

Posted by Jake Kalish We watched the NCAA Tournament last night, and after hours of the serious demeanor, astute observation, coherent thoughts, and general rationality of CBS (and ESPN) analyst Jay Bilas, a thought occured to us: /This guy is no Dick Vitale.

See, it's a proven fact: a smart calm man is not as entertaining as a dumb crazy man. Bilas , a Duke law school graduate and practicing lawyer, is smart. And he's exceedingly calm - no hype or hyperbole, ever. ESPN analyst/clown Dick Vitale , on the other hand, is a screaming, gesticulating buffoon lunatic. Which is way more fun. I'm sure the change will be all about money and have nothing to do with what we want, but I took a look at who would be left back at CBS.

Awful Announcing (http://awfulannouncing.blogspot.com/2009/03/your-opening-two-rounds-in-quotes.html) and has some of the bests and worsts from CBS' 2009 Tournament coverage, so it should offer a pretty representative cast list.

“With the nine inches size advantage he has on Abrham.”- Clark Kellogg
“And that’s a big one.”- Jim Nantz
“That sure is a large one.”- Clark Kellogg
“It’s a big one too.”- Jim Nantz
“That’s big all the way around.”- Clark Kellogg

11-06-2009, 06:04 PM
One of the great annual rituals at ESPN is to hear Vitale whining about all of the bubble teams that were left out of the dance during ESPN's bracketology show. Problem is, he never suggests any teams who should've been excluded to make room for the teams he felt should've been included.

I still say the best TV color analyst in basketball is Billy Raff. He should've replaced Packer as their lead color guy. He's a great hybrid. If you were to take Billy Packer, Jay Bilas, Al McGuire and Dick Vitale and shake them up in a bag, Billy Raff would be the result. He has everything you would ever want in a color analyst.

11-06-2009, 07:28 PM
I say, lets eliminate Syracuse, unless they go through the regular season undefeated. Then make them a bubble, play-in team.

11-06-2009, 08:29 PM
Middling BCS teams who whine about being on the bubble and want into the tourney despite lukewarm records make me want to puke and I'm generally against this idea - if the tourney ain't broke, don't fix it.

BUT I think this could benefit teams like SMC last season (or I think Akron a couple seasons ago who lost their conf tourney on some crazy last-second shot or the two or so really good mid-major teams that the committee ritually overlooks every season) who should get a chance to prove that they belong in the Dance or not. I think a lot of these teams would benefit from being able to show everyone that they belong in the Dance and actually get in by winning a play-in for one of the last at-larges.

The committee has slowly been marginalizing mid-majors over the past few years. This would be one way quality mids could stop getting left out.

11-06-2009, 08:42 PM
While we're at it, let's make some noise about returning the final four to the west coast. Last Werst Coast team to win it all was UCLA in 1995 in the Kingdome, which was subsequently destroyed.
I think the West Coast deserves a venue in the interest of parity, even though it is lacking in covered football stadiums that draw more people than puny made-for-basketball arenas.

11-06-2009, 09:28 PM
Leave it alone. Please.

11-07-2009, 10:31 AM

video clip of NCAA expansion