View Full Version : The "First Four"

07-12-2010, 11:07 AM

Interesting to see how the seeding will work.

Angelo Roncalli
07-12-2010, 11:43 AM
Not perfect, but the NCAA could have done worse...


07-12-2010, 11:46 AM
College hoops needs a 3/4 game like the world cup.

07-12-2010, 11:51 AM
There's really no other better way to set it up, but it's weird, because isn't it almost a guarantee that the last 2 AQ will beat the other 2 teams??? When you have teams like Arizona State and UCONN versus teams like East Tennessee State and Lehigh, who's going to win almost every time??

07-12-2010, 11:51 AM
I like it.

07-12-2010, 11:52 AM
The games will be televised on TruTv (formerly CourtTV)


07-12-2010, 11:54 AM
There's really no other better way to set it up, but it's weird, because isn't it almost a guarantee that the last 2 AQ will beat the other 2 teams??? When you have teams like Arizona State and UCONN versus teams like East Tennessee State and Lehigh, who's going to win almost every time??

Mid-majors getting a shot at BCS teams in a neutral venue? That is all they are asking for.

07-12-2010, 12:05 PM
Very interesting. Thanks for posting this.

07-12-2010, 12:12 PM
I think there is some misunderstanding about the format. From a TSN article today:


— Instead of one game involving automatic qualifiers at the bottom of the field, there now will be two games between teams playing for the right to meet No. 1 seeds. The teams seeded 65th through 68th will be selected for these games. Using the 2010 field, those games might have involved Arkansas-Pine Bluff, Winthrop, Lehigh and East Tennessee State.

— The last four at-large teams chosen will be matched in two games for the right to be seeded into the 64-team bracket at their natural position. So one of these games could lead to a team being seeded No. 10 and playing a No. 7 seed, whereas another could wind up on the 12 line and play a No. 5 seed. The past season's last at-large team was either Utah State or UTEP; this expansion might have meant Mississippi State, Virginia Tech and Illinois squeezing into the field.

In other words, the last 4 auto qualifiers will be playing each other, and the last 4 at larges will be playing each other. The two groups won't be playing each other.


The committee showed a slight degree of fallibility by not establishing a firm seed line for the at-large teams that will play in the opening round. The current arrangement gives the impression that in the event there are two teams playing for a No. 10 seed and two playing for a No. 12, the loser of the first game will be getting a lousy deal compared to the two lesser-seeded teams competing to advance in the second game.

07-12-2010, 12:15 PM
"There was no consensus," Guerrero said.

Perfect. Just the way things should be. When you can't agree, compromise and then everyone is unhappy.

And FWIW, the way Uber reads this is that the last four at-large bids will play each other with the two winners likely facing a 5 or 6 seed. And the last four auto-bids (essentially the winners of the four weakest conferences) will play each other with the two winners facing a 1 seed. So in the example above, it would be Arizona State playing UCONN while East Tennessee State will play Lehigh. Is that not correct?

Uber would have preferred to see the last 8 at-large bids play each other but this is better than the last 8 auto-bids playing each other for the right to face a 1 seed. But this will increase the (slim) chances of a 16 beating a 1 considering that now two 1s will be facing what in the past would have been 15 seeds.

07-12-2010, 12:22 PM
As one who takes nothing for granted -- I envision a time (in the not tooooo distant future) where our Zags could take advantage of "The First Four". It certainly beats an invitation to the NIT.

My belief is that the 24 win '98 Gonzaga team would have made the dance and done some damage had this system been in place back then. For that matter -- I'd put the '09 Gaels in the same boat.

07-12-2010, 12:33 PM
As for the second quote in CDC's post above: the committee can't establish a firm line for the 4 at-large bids to placed in because you never know from year to year where the last 4 at-large bids will be placed. Usually, it depends on the strength of the auto-bids from mid-majors--some years those teams may be a 12 or 11. Put another way, the last at-large bids are always higher than 12 auto-bids on the s-curve (seeds 14-15-16), almost always better than 16 teams (seeds 13-16), but usually not better than 20 teams (seeds 12-16) and fall on the s-curve at 12. It's just different every year depending on the strength of those teams in the mid-level conferences that receive auto-bids.

But the four at-large teams should be playing to the same line though considering they are the last four in--the winners both play to a 12 seed in any given year or maybe 11 seed in another year.

07-12-2010, 12:51 PM
Mid-majors getting a shot at BCS teams in a neutral venue? That is all they are asking for.

I had that misunderstanding at first, too. I liked it a lot better when I thought it was four No. 17s playing four No. 12s for the right to face a No. 5.

07-12-2010, 01:14 PM
I had that misunderstanding at first, too. I liked it a lot better when I thought it was four No. 17s playing four No. 12s for the right to face a No. 5.
OK, so now I think it sucks.

07-12-2010, 02:04 PM
Me too. I don't like it.

07-12-2010, 06:57 PM
Better than a 128 team field or whatever the heck they were proposing.

07-12-2010, 07:59 PM
John Feinstein's take:

There's a very old joke about a funeral. The rabbi stands in front of the congregation and says, "I know you all have something you want to say about our dear departed friend. So instead of a eulogy, I'd like you each to stand up and tell us what you loved best about him."

Complete silence.

"Don't be shy," the rabbi says. "I know this is hard. Who's going to go first?"

More silence.

Finally, the rabbi says, "Okay, I'm going to get this started. You, Adam, in the first row, you start us off."

Adam reluctantly gets to his feet, shrugs and says, "His brother was worse."

That joke came to mind Monday when the NCAA men's basketball committee finally got around to revealing how the new and un-improved 68-team tournament will work next March.

It could have been worse.

Of course, it could have been a lot better.

And because the NCAA is the NCAA, we still don't know all the details. One can only hope that by Selection Sunday, the committee will figure out exactly where it is going to send teams to begin the tournament....

...Here's what still hasn't been explained: where the games will be. If they're going to be played over two nights, they almost certainly have to be at what are now being called, "second- and third-round" sites -- one of them being Verizon Center next March. No doubt building availability may still be at issue, as is building size. The NCAA likely doesn't want single play-in games being played in a 20,000-seat building such as Verizon Center. An alternative might be finding smaller buildings in the same city or nearby. In Washington, for example, a play-in game (sorry, NCAA, that's what these will be called here, now and forever) could be played at George Mason's Patriot Center, which seats about 10,000.

Dayton, which hosted the one play-in game the past 10 years, is probably out of the picture because with the two-night format, teams will have only one day off before they play again. Making that one day a travel day doesn't seem to make sense, especially if a team has to travel to the West Coast. If they play the game in the same city, the players can sleep in the next day, go through the practice day with the other seven teams and play on either Thursday or Friday.

Sound complicated? It is. That's because what makes sense is a 64-team tournament, with four 16-team brackets. But the NCAA is all about making an extra buck, even when that means making simple things complicated in an effort to satisfy TV partners.

Actually, to be completely fair, TV partners might have been all that prevented this from being a complete travesty in this case. If not for TV, there's no doubt all four of these play-in games would involve the last eight automatic bid teams in the field (think: champions of leagues such as the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference, Sun Belt, Ohio Valley) because the committee usually does everything it can to help the big conference out. But because TV wants at least one decent game a night -- you can bet the automatic bid teams will play the early game both days -- the committee compromised and will make four at-large teams play in the "first" round.

The bracket won't be drawn for nine months, but one already can hear the seventh-place coaches in the ACC, Big East and Big Ten screaming: "I'd love to see how the [choose one] Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference, Patriot League, Southwestern Athletic Conference, Big South, Southern Conference champion would do in our league. You think they could finish above .500? Typical NCAA, being politically correct and caving to the media."

Of course that same coach wouldn't be caught dead playing the best team in any of those leagues anywhere during the regular season. That coach needs to shut up and be glad his team isn't going to the NIT, which is probably where it deserves to go....

...That's where we are with the NCAA now: taking solace in the fact that it could have been worse.

Washington Post Link (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/07/12/AR2010071204889_pf.html)

07-12-2010, 11:17 PM
Sorta like having a small tournament before the real trounament. How these kids ca go right back to the courts after their league tournament is amazing. I suppose the question is whether the fatigue of so many high end games might preclude being rested enough to compete at full force. Just a thought....big disadvanatge it seems.

07-13-2010, 04:38 AM
The more I read about it the more I dislike this. People like the NCAA tournament for a variety of reasons...but simplicity is clearly one of them. We'll (people who spend time on a basketball messaged board) all follow closely enough to understand what's happening. Steve in Accounting who doesn't really care about sports but fills out a bracket every year will be turned off by this. I almost feel like 96 teams would have been better than this mess.

07-13-2010, 07:53 AM
The bottom line is that there wasn't a perfect solution other than keeping things as they were and not expanding. They had to reach some sort of compromise.

I still argue that the party who is getting messed over with this decision are the 5's and 6's who are hardly going to get any time to prepare for their first opponent in the dance. No higher seeded in the tournament will have to deal with this short preparation window (besides the 1 seeds who are taking on 16 seeds that they could blow out with their hands tied behind their backs). This is especially tough because their opponent is likely to be a hot BCS team with high major talent. And then if the NCAA sets up a situation where the final at large teams play near the site where they would playing their "second round" game.....that means that the 11 or 12 doesn't have to travel to the venue. They'll have 1-2 days off and can just hang out in the hotel room and rest up, while the 5 or 6 has to get on an airplane. I know the final at larges have short notice too, but I could still see a lot more of 5/12 and 6/11 upsets happening with this decision.

07-13-2010, 08:08 AM
Better than a 128 team field or whatever the heck they were proposing.

So what you get jammed down your throat is something that sucks instead of something that sucks more. Gotta love those options :(

hurray for the ncaa....

07-13-2010, 03:16 PM
Uber still thinks the 8 extra teams should be the last 8 in at-large bids and the 4 winners would play into two 8/9 games -- like a 4 team tourney with the winner "winning" the right to play a 1 seed in game 3. You would alleviate CDC's concerns of rest/scouting and you would be placing all of the last 8 in where they should be--up against a 1 in the second, err third, round.

And for that matter, the next 4 last teams in (teams 9-12) should be the other 8/9 seeds automatically. The rest of the bracket should be filled in based on the s-curve.