No March Madness Does NOT Need to be Expanded to 72 Teams ACC Coaches
Are ACC Basketball coaches acting in their best interest or the best interest of the game?
It's an honest question after ACC Commissioner John Swofford mentioned on Thursday his conference will propose on behalf of their coaches, a move to expand the NCAA Basketball Tournament from 68 to 72 teams.
The proposal would encompass having a second "First Four" play-in tournament in what they are calling a "Western Location".
The tournament already holds one of these events in Dayton, Ohio at the Dayton arena.
I don't think this is an idea the NCAA would go for, but then again, it likely would result in more broadcast rights fees so I wouldn't rule it out either.
However it's still a really bad idea....
The argument the coaches make is there are four more "Mid-Majors" who could get an opportunity to participate. Which if a whole lot of circumstances break in one direction....could happen. But there's much, much more to it than that.
Those slots are more likely to go to teams from a "Power" conference (such as the ACC) who have a team "On the Bubble" and would just miss getting in with a smaller field. Those coaches all have tournament riders in their contracts and get bonuses for making the tournament.
Hmmmm, wonder if that might have something to do with it rather than the "Mid Major" argument offered up by Swofford.
In the past 40 years (1978-2018), the tournament has grown from an event with 32 teams played over 3 weeks to a month long, 68 team event worth billions of dollars.
Which is great and mirrors the evolution of the game.
But how much is too much, when is enough....enough?
Do you keep expanding and make it like College Football's dreary Bowl Season where anyone willing to organize a Bowl Game gets one and anyone with a .500 or better record gets a bid? You know, roughly the equivalent to a "Participation Trophy"....
Or do you make the Tournament something where you actually have to earn the bid? Yeah, sure, there will always be a "Bubble" team you could argue has a case for getting in. There ALWAYS will be. But there's also an NIT Tournament and other options for those teams.
At the end of the day, yeah, the ACC Coaches are making a totally greedy proposal based on their own self/best interest. In terms of the game its a horribly bad idea for basketball and the conference.
But it also is in the best financial interest of ALL the coaches so yeah, at the end of the day, we all see through this shallow proposal to muddy the waters so a few people with a vested interest get a chance to pocket even more money.....