Thursday, April 22, 2010

The Men's NCAA Basketball Tournament

The best single sporting event (hands down!) is not going to change...much!

Sorry to all you ladies out there that read this blog but it is my blog too and I'm going to post about the tournament that is near to every sports fan's heart. Besides I know some guys read this and it also links to my facebook.

Rumors abounded the last few weeks that the NCAA wanted to tweak March Madness (to make more money). It seemed that they wanted to expand the field to 96 teams instead of 65. While I was not dead set against this expanison as many others were, I was opposed to it. Why try and change the nation's best tournament? (I didn't think the expansion would deem the regular season meaningless because the first round bye would be very important, I more or less thought the added round was unnecessary.)

I thought the NCAA ended up making the best choice in expanding the tournament to 68 teams, meaning there will be 4 play-in games instead one. This gives the teams from tiny conferences a chance to win a tournament game, and this also could lead to the first 16 over a 1, since (relatively) better teams will be 16s. (If Robert Morris, which would be a 16 in the new tourney, took #2 WV to OT, who's to say they couldn't have played as well against #1 Syracuse.) In addition, the new Great West Conference was going to need an auto bid soon so either there would have to be expansion or an at-large bid would be lost. So in the end, you're only going to "dilute" the tournament by adding 2 more at-large teams, and I hope that can allow a worthy mid-major regular season champ i.e. Kent St that didn't win its tournament. And another thing is that overall look of the tournament didn't really change so filling out your bracket and competing against your friends can continue as it has for the past decades.

The thing I didn't care for is that CBS had to partner with Turner to win this contract. I do not have cable TV. I liked the fact that I could sit down and watch the best games on CBS and they would switch me to another if it got out of hand or there was a closer game nearing the end not in my region. Now it appears that each region will have its own channel so I will be stuck watching KU beat down East Western St instead of the nail biter 5/12 game between Georgetown and George Mason. And then in 2016 the Final Four is going to be on TBS?! But by that time, who knows what technology is out there and it is 6 years down the road. Things change over time.

I'm just glad to ESPN didn't get it, it will still be on regular TV (mostly), and it will still be the same tournament I've known and loved.

1 comment:

Joel said...

I've heard -- and hope is the case -- that all games will continue to be webcast. As Internet speeds increase, the convenience and quality of web broadcasts continues to improve.

I, too, am glad they didn't expand it much more than this. Still, not sure how long it will be until those pushing for 80, 96, 317... teams get their way.