Around the Hall: Tournament expansion seems inevitable

  • 04/01/2010 8:22 pm in

Around the Hall is recommended reading from the Inside the Hall crew. So go ahead, get your read on, kids.

Dan Guerrero, NCAA chairman of the Division I men’s basketball committee, Kevin Lennon, NCAA vice president of academic and membership affairs and Greg Shaheen, NCAA senior vice president of basketball and business strategies met with the media today in Indianapolis to discuss expansion of the tournament. A transcript from the press conference is available here. As you might deduct from the headline, all signs point to expansion. Reaction from bloggers and writers from around the Web below:

+ “So there you have it. The NCAA wants more money, even at the expense of revealing itself to be apparently unconcerned with the notion of “student athletes,” supposedly one of the core reasons it exists. Isn’t this the major argument against a college football playoff?” – Eamonn Brennan, ESPN College Basketball Nation

+ “What’s really at issue here is a great deal of hypocrisy. This might sound like a bit of a straw man argument, but there are detractors of a college football playoff system who balk at the notion of kids missing so much class for those games. So why isn’t the same principle applied in this instance?” – Chris Littman, The Sporting Blog

+ “It seems the 96-team tournament is all but a done deal. The fans don’t like it. But the NCAA and television networks want it. And even worse, after today’s press conference, it appears that the NCAA has absolutely no idea how to go about instituting this. Sounds like a pretty perfect plan.” – Ryan Hudson, SB Nation

+ “The organization also considered leaving the tournament at its current size, expanding to 68 teams and expanding to 80 teams, but it deemed the larger model as the best fit.  In the 96-field model, the first 32 teams with top eight seeds would receive a first-round bye.” – Shannon Ryan, Chicago Tribune

+ “Rather than lengthen the tournament a week and risk hurting TV ratings by having the Final Four go head-to-head against the Master’s, the NCAA instead intends to cram an extra round of basketball into the usual three-week time span. Under that plan, 64 teams would play the round of 96 on the Thursday and Friday of Week 1 and the 32 winners would face the 32 first-round bye recipients on Saturday and Sunday. Then after a one-day respite on Monday,  the 32 remaining teams would play on Tuesday and Wednesday to whittle the survivors down to our familiar Sweet 16, which would start on Thursday of Week 2 as it always has.” – Jeff Eisenberg, The Dagger at Yahoo Sports

+ “It’s time for the National Collegiate Athletic Association to expand the tournament to 96 teams from 65. While I understand the hesitancy people may have to alter this great event, I think doing so would make the tournament even better.” – Villanova coach Jay Wright to the New York Times

Filed to:

  • Anonymous

    Everyone assumes expansion will mean more money to the NCAA. But the cost of administering tournaments for 32 more teams, most of which won’t have large traveling fan bases, needs to be accounted for. Not only will the lower 32 teams fan bases be required to travel on short notice, attending more games especially during the week will be more burdensome on the fan bases who try to travel with the teams. And the fact that most people simply can’t take that much time off work or school to watch 32 more basketball games means that tv ratings increases aren’t guaranteed. NBC lost its ass on the last Olympics and I don’t think a 96-team NCAA tournament would be any different. If the networks lose money they’ll be twice shy next time around. This whole thing stinks.

  • Normally, I wouldn't be in favor of this. However, given the current state of the Hoosiers, it does give IU a better chance of getting back to the REALLY BIG Dance sooner than later.

  • With regards to the argument, “The NCAA only wants more money,” is that not necessarily a bad thing? The NCAA is a non-for-profit meaning that their earnings are not distributed to owners/shareholders, rather reinvested in the organizaiton for future goals (i.e. betterment of student athletes, etc). Maybe I'm missing something here…

  • btowniualumn

    Terrible Idea….wouldnt do it….takes away from the tourney. Just too many teams that will get in that do not necessarily deserve it. Im not a fan, but it seems to be impossible to stop the steamroller that is the NCAA.

  • M&Choosierfactory

    How does this change expectations for next year? Are we happy just to get in? Do we expect to win the first round game? Should we expect a first round bye?

  • IUonetwo

    Does this put CTC on the chopping block if we are not in next year?

  • 32 teams wasn't enough…65 was about right……if you don't earn being in the NCAA tournament its not worth even having….thats comming from an IU fan that should love the fact more teams can make it in

  • SeattleHoosier

    I love basketball, but these kids shouldn't be out of class for a week straight. Where are the priorities here? Very few of them will play basketball after college…they should be focused on school.

  • GFDave

    To paraphrase the O'Jays:

    Money money money money, MONEY

    NCAA got to have it
    Hey, Hey, Hey – NCAA really need it

    The gap between the lip service and the reality keeps widening and one day the hypocrisy will have grown so large it will cause the system to implode.

  • hoosierlifer

    Here is the “out-of-control” monopoly known as the NCAA hard at work again. They preach about doing everything for the student athlete when in reality they aren’t any different than any other type of business. They are all about money. Many people on here say that this will work out great for the Hoosiers because we will have a better chance of making the tournament. I would rather keep the 65 team format because it would be more rewarding for the Hoosiers when they do finally make back to the Big Dance. A 96 team format would only water things down and make it less of an accomplishment for smaller conference teams who make the tournament. All-in-all its a bad idea by the NCAA because they are fixing a tournament that is not broken.hoosierlifer

  • unclekerfuffle

    I, too, have reservations about expanding to 96 teams even though it may get my Hoosiers in there a year earlier than expected.

    However, I wonder if the rationale for not supporting an expansion the tournament is being made by some fans who, like me, are opposed to the class basketball tourney model in Indiana. For those of us fans who wish to return to a high school tournament format where the “on any given night” scenario makes for great movie scripts, shouldn't we also support the expansion of the NCAA tournament for the same reasons, regardless of the motivation for the proposal by the NCAA?

    I'm not trying to take one side or the other–just thinking out loud.

  • Bryan

    I'm trying to keep an open mind on this, but after reading the transcript from the NCAA press conference on this, I'm left with these thoughts.
    1. Even from the grave, Myles Brand finds ways to hurt college basketball.
    2. Loved how the NCAA mouthpiece couldn't give a straight answer to the fact that their model would cause the final 16 teams to miss a whole week of class, and the final 32 missing similar time, depending on their starting seed and dates played.
    3. No thought was given to the effect on conference tournaments. This model makes them almost irrelevant.
    4. You would think, if the NCAA was really concerned about generating revenue to help promote the non-revenue sports, they would focus first on ending the outsourcing of the college football postseason to the BCS, rather than watering down the product they currently control.

  • Druid

    This sucks. Why don't we just give everyone a participation trophy and be done with it. With expanding to 96 teams, just about everyone with even a mediocre season can get in. This takes away from the teams that worked their butts off all season.

    As far as IU getting in next season, we need to earn our way in with wins not just because of an expanded tournament which I believe we will even with the current format. Indiana Hoosiers doesn't need anybodies help or charity. We will be back next season. With the current roster we will be very competitive and successful. As most of you know, we have some awesome athletes who don't like losing and will work hard this summer to return the program to the elite status it deserves.

    I for one hate the “everyone will be a winner” mentality that seems to burden just about every endeavor these days. As with most things these days, money is top priority. The NCAA is absolutely wrong on this issue.

  • tberry

    Seems only the Basketball Coach is for expansion. I know all coaches would like the show to get bigger because it increases their chance of getting in but when everyone plays there is no meaning to participating or winning.

    Most others, including, most fans don't want it but it will be done anyway simply for the revenue. That increased revenue is more important to the NCAA than any student athlete, team or principle.

  • Sallad

    All 15 and 16 seeds should be play-in games. There are only about 4/5 teams a year that people are upset about getting left out. That lets them in without making it ridiculous.

    Man, filling out a 96-team bracket is going to be a chore!

  • MillaRed

    This is 100% about the dollars.

    The good news is, it didn't happen this year so Illinois didn't get to the dance. In your face Weber.

    I don't like it either, but I think it does get some more deserving teams in there. It eliminates the “bubble” teams that miss out because the winner of the Appalachian Valley Tournament or whatever gets in at the end of selection weekend.

    Still yet I will miss the 64 team bracket. I'm not even going to acknowledge the “play-in” game.

  • jpniles

    While I would never scoff at the opportunity to watch MORE basketball, I am skeptical of this expansion for a few reasons:
    #1 – I think we will see a decrease in the importance of conference tournaments and a decrease in the quality of basketball played in January and February.
    #2 – I think that it would be very hard for any power conference team to miss the tournament because of strength of schedule. With that being said, see reason #1.
    #3 – I do not think that you should get into the conference solely based on the conference in which you reside. With that being said, see reasons #1 & #2

    Notice each one begins with “I think…” because these are my opinions. While I am still skeptical, I will still watch the tournament. I will still be a rabid fan of college basketball. I, like most everyone else, will mumble and groan until I get used to it. Then I'll have to make the same arguments when they want to expand it to 120 or 5000 or whatever.

  • HoosierFromCt

    Anyone here remember the Big East tourny the last few years. Teams with double byes usually get out early because the teams who win 2 in a row get it going while the top seeds sit and wait. I'm not saying it's going to happen with the 1-8 seeds in this 96,000 team format but we should be seeing way more upsets, which I never liked because I like seeing the BEST teams play each other at the end…unless it's IU, of course.

    PS: Butler is no underdog. Preseason ranked #10. 24 or 25 straight victories. The Vegas favorites over a Tom Izzo team in the Final 4. Defiantly not an underdog. Just a really good team from a s.h.i.t. conference.

  • Kreigh_Smiths_Short_Shorts

    How the heck is the pool gonna work?

  • pbrowning

    Wasn't this inevitable after the NCAA/NIT settlement? Possibly the lead-in to combining the 2 tournaments and avoid any issues of conflict between them.

  • Hardwood83

    The play-in for the 15/16 seeds was something I thought of too- it would increase the # of teams to 72 and could start it on Tues- all without screwing up the existing (VERY popular) format. This is a reason NOT to have a football playoff, the NCAA will botch it. This is all begging the question- why does the 96th best team in the country even deserve a shot at winning it all? Very disappointing. Like Obamacare once they implement this monstrosity no chance of repeal either.

  • I agree w/jdhoosier – except that getting to the “REALLY BIG Dance” is so exciting because it actually MEANS something. If you just let EVERYONE in – who cares?

  • trailrunner

    IU will not make the tourney next year. Every squad in the conference will be better. We will be fortunate to finish near the middle of the pack. I have thought long about our situation. I think the best hope for IU to come back soon is if the Zeller brothers and J. Davis from Muncie commit. Then in 2 years we will begin to make noise. We will need to lose 2 others for that to happen however.

  • cooper

    Stupid idea, I'd like to know who is going to put these crap games on TV. Not the network channels. I guess ESPN will be getting games.

    Coaches will love this

  • trailrunner

    In that case expand to 128 and add another week. The problem is that once they expand to 96 it would be very difficult to go back if it was a mistake.

  • Taskmaster75

    Other than the obvious hatred for the tournament expansion. Here are a few of my thoughts

    – This effectively dooms the existence of the NIT. Either it's taking below 500 teams all around, or it will simply cease to exist. The first option will lead to the second either way, so the NIT is screwed.

    – I am still a little confused as to why they would implement this without even doing more research. Would they cram more games into 2 days? Or would they add more days? Too many questions for me to even acknowledge putting this up for a vote.

  • unclekerfufle

    I'm not saying that expanding the the tournament would be a good idea as a practical application. I just think if you are going to have “at large” teams at the dance, the logic would suggest that all teams should participate.

    What about the tournament being seeded by a system that recognizes only the regular season champion from every D1 conference. That would place more value on the conference schedules.

    Just something to think about.

  • marcusgresham

    I've said this before, I think, but here's my argument FOR expansion (if it's done the way I'd expect it to be.) Even if it goes to 96, the last 3 or 4 seeds in each region are going to be the same teams that are seeded at the bottom in the current format. That will probably have something akin to a 9-24, 10-23, 11-22, etc. set up as far as seeding. That means the 16 seed, who will likely end up playing the #1 will be a better quality team than the #24, who would have been the #16 in the old format. That 16-17 matchup should be a competitive game, and the ensuing 16 (or 17)-1 game should also be a better game than the current 1-16 games are; even with the possibility of an upset. No one in his/her right mind expects a #1 to get beaten by a current #16, but if that new 16 is someone like Dayton, who just won the NIT there could be an upset if things go right.

  • unclekerfuffle

    I think this is an excellent point–one I did not consider. If the worst team in the current format is 16th by automatic bid then the new format would actually bring in better teams to fill the bottom half of the bracket. Interesting.

    I'm still not sold but it does make the argument that the tournament would actually improve, at least in the bottom half of the brackets.

  • trailrunner

    The regular season schedule is one of the major factors considered when seeding. I am not totally opposed to expansion but the 96 teams is going to be awkward in my opinion and teams are not going to get much rest between games. I think the quality of ball will be affected. 128 seems to make more sense to me. In reality all the teams are in the tournament already. By playing and having the opportunity to win the conference tournament every team has a chance to be in the field of 64. Conference tourneys are like sectionals for the weaker squads. I do think the tourney as it stands now is almost perfect.

  • silkyslim

    Why water down the BEST tournament of any sport?!? It renders conference tournaments useless and is all about money. Typical modern attitude, lets just pass everybody in the class so all can feel good about themselves, but is not based on any real achievement. What happened to go out there and EARN it?
    Does anybody really believe that any team 66 through 96 has any real chance to win a title? Heck, even the 16 seed can't even win one game.