— What’s a bigger waste of time than No. 1 vs. No. 16 in the NCAA tournament?
What’s a bigger injustice than a mid-major team winning its conference regular season, losing in the conference tournament and getting jobbed out of the NCAA tournament?
What smells worse than the fifth-best team from a BCS conference building its RPI in its home conference games while a mid-major has to try and build its RPI with road games?
What is more irritating than a high major coach complaining his team did not get in the NCAA tournament when the coach filled up his December schedule with cream puffs?
There is a remedy for the wasted time, the injustice, the smell and the gripes.
Expand the tournament. Let the No. 24 seeds play a No. 9 seed — or some similar fashion — in the first round so they have a chance to stick around instead of getting waxed into the floor. Make sure conference champs, who labored all winter, get in the Dance.
Give the top teams the first round off, but make them work a little harder when they do join the dance in the second round.
Expansion is not being discussed to get rid of these ludicrous 1 vs. 16 games or to help the low mid-majors get in the spotlight. Expansion is being discussed because there is a lot of money to be made and programming slots to fill.
Why not go for it? You and I won’t get the money. The NCAA gets the money.
So what? At least we won’t have to waste our time with 30-point postseason blowouts.
We also won’t have to feel the pain of a school such as Tennessee Tech, which won the Ohio Valley Conference in 2005, lost in the conference tournament with the help of some questionable calls by a referee, and ended up out of the NCAA tournament.
A whole body of work down in flames because of one bad game. Why not resolve that issue with 31 extra teams?
There would be a lot more teams to sort through, but there would be more talk on seedings and who gets a first-round bye. There would also be more money for other sports. Earmark the extra NCAA cash for non-revenue sports.
And wouldn’t you just have more basketball in March when it means something instead of November when the games mean much less? In the south, where football is king, there are people that don’t even know that basketball is underway in November.
The teams from the BCS leagues might actually schedule some tougher games in December knowing they probably will still get in the tournament. That is if their coaches do not want to horde wins to enrich their contracts and reach the 20-win mark without sweat.
College basketball is at its best in early March when there is hope for an upset. That’s why the tournament is the darling of sports fans. Wouldn’t it be nice to have more of those suspenseful games?
Regionalize the first round, conference against conference, and have the seventh-best in the SEC go against the seventh-best in the ACC. Go Sun Belt vs. Conference USA. Take the lower Big East teams in the Midwest and match them against lower teams from the Big Ten.
The argument that a bigger tournament impacts academics is ridiculous. The caretakers of college athletics have allowed Thursday night football games, which takes a kid out of classes Thursday and makes them too tired for Friday classes because they came home at 1 a.m.
The football schedules have been expanded to 12 games, which takes more time from school.
Michigan is not the only school that works its players past the 20-hour rule. A lot do it. So to say expansion takes too much from academics means you are not paying attention to what is going on in college athletics.
Now, if school really is important, expansion could mean starting the season later, near the end of the first semester in December. As it is, basketball players have their seasons stretch over two semesters. That’s a tough haul for a college kid, given how demanding coaches are.
Schools might claim they need the home basketball games in November to make their budgets. They won’t if an expanded tournament means there is more TV money to share.
Expansion surely came out of discussions the NCAA had with the cable company. It is not a bad thing. About 90 percent of the NCAA revenue comes from the tournament. If it can make more money, the NCAA has a fiduciary responsibility to its members to look at its options.
It’s a nice deal the NCAA has with current partner CBS that it can troll through the marketplace right now and see if cable wants to award a mega-contract for the NCAA tournament. That window is open right now and cable is crunching the numbers.
I say take the money and play more games in March when we really care.