Again the rumor of March Madness expanding to 96 teams is being tossed around. I am apposed to this expansion as the only teams/leagues I see benefiting are conferences like the Big East, Big 10, ACC, etc. Instead of placing your top 2 or 3 teams in the tourney, having 6 or 7. Would this benefit conference such as the Big Sky, Horizon or Colonial? Division that are only guaranteed 1 team. Could this put 2 teams from the Big Sky if they are good enough? Probably not since the money generated from having a team in the ACC that finished 6th would generate more money than Weber State or Portland State.
The expansion has nothing to do with competitive play, but how to string along profits and make more money than what is already generated. Look at how ridiculous college football has become. Why on earth do I give a rats ass about the “Enterprise Rent-a-car bowl” on a Tuesday night in December? Just to watch two teams I didn’t not follow during the season battle for a bronze car on a statue and probably $1 million? Is that really what this is all about? I don’t watch the national championship game. Oh, but I will be sure to set my DVR for the new New York bowl…not!
Let this remain at 64 teams. We already have 1 “play in” game. I don’t see this becoming better with a few more “play in” games, and/or having some higher seeds acquire “byes” and starting play on Monday or Tuesday. It may sound fun and intriguing, but right now you have legit teams with winning records on the bubble. You move to this large format and the bubble doesn’t go away, but the quality of bubble does.
I am sure many people fought the move from 32 to 64 team in the 80’s. But I think that found a nice sweet spot of talent to present to the nation in March. There are 347 D1 basketball teams, so we are a long ways from devaluing post season play, unlike in football. (34, now 35 bowl games and 120 teams…70 are in bowl games, while 50 are not…what’s the point).
There was also an argument of having too many “under .500” teams in the playoffs should they expand to 96. I don’t agree with this argument. If you win your conferences tournament and are still under .500, who cares. You are obviously peaking at the right time. If the 7th place team in the ACC is below .500 and get’s in, I am sure it would be because they played a tougher schedule than someone else. So, to me, this argument I don’t care that much about. I would argue that those teams would play at their highest level since they have nothing to lose and will give most any team a run for the money.
I see this being an expansion out of greed rather than enjoyment. Please keep this model to 64 teams.