Friday, March 5, 2010

Is 96 Better than 65?

The NCAA is thinking about extending the best tournament in America to 96 teams from it's current figure of 65. While MITM is in strong opposition to this, I'd like to provide reasons for both sides of the argument.

Let's begin by taking a look at the postseason play numbers of four major NCAA sports:

Men's Basketball
Currently, the NCAA allows 65, or 18.7%, of its 347 member teams to play in it's premier tournament, therefore giving them a *chance* to win the national championship. It already invites the most scrubs to the party, just barely edging baseball. When you include the NIT's 32 and the CBI's 16 (hahahaha) that figure balloons to 113, or 32.5%.

Of the 120 D1A/FBS teams, a whopping 66 played in bowls last year. That's more than half, checking in at a robust 55%. The NCAA football postseason inclusion is more like the NHL and NBA where 16 out of 30 teams get invitations to prom. Clearly only two teams have a chance to win the 'ship in BCS era, but at least other teams can get shiny rings.

Baseball comes in second behind men's basketball in giving the most teams a shot at the title. My favorite sport allows 64, or 30.3% of its 211 clubs to compete in the College World Series tournament. Note that this is very close to it's professional counterpart who takes eight out of 30 teams into the playoffs, good for 26.7%.

The strangely aligned NCAA hockey program takes the smallest group of teams to the postseason as just 16, or 27.6% of the 58 clubs get a chance to make it to the Frozen Four. It's pro big brother takes the same amount of teams from almost half the selection pool!

By adding teams, you should be adding talent. Every casual (and even many diehard) fan's favorite thing about the Big Dance is the first weekend with the madness, the buzzer beaters, the Cinderellas, the weird mascots, the schools-we've-never-heard-of, the bracket busters. Adding another 31 teams should make that four days even more unpredictable. The biggest reasoning behind this is without a doubt the cheddar that goes to the hosts, schools, conferences and NCAA. That's another plus in my book. Bringing in more revenue can never be a bad thing, at least in theory.

If I'm a coin collector and I have 65 coins, and I take 31 more from the group that my friend (not as good of a collector as me) normally gets his coins from, does that make my collection better, or just bigger? None of those 31 were good enough to be in my first 65. And what does it do to my friend's collection? He now has to take them from a guy who has an even worse selection of coins. The average value of my coins will decrease the more weaker ones I add. Ladies, would you rather go on a few good dates with Justin Timberlake, Patrick Dempsey and Channing Tatum or several 'ehh' dates with Dustin Diamond, Corey Haim and the weird kid from next door? Just because there is more of something, doesn't mean that it's better.

More money is good, but 65 teams is enough. This would make the regular season less significant, sort of like the NBA before April. Is that what we want? I just don't get the point of messing with the greatest tournament in the world when it's as successful as it is.

1 comment:

  1. Think of it this way. Instead of 1 awful Tuesday play-in game, you have an entire round of them. So basically, all the automatic "nobody" schools play each other the first week, as the power conference schools gets a rest. Isn't the best part of the tourney, routing for Manhattan, or Hampton to win a game against the likes of some Big 10 mid level school?