Monday, June 26, 2006

Expansionism is wrong

Every year there is great debate over who belongs, who should belong, and who shouldn't belong. Who should go? Who shouldn't?

Now, the Powers That Be want to change the status quo, make it more accessible to the little guy.

There are some in the NCAA who want to expand the Men's Basketball Tournament from 65 teams to 128. The reasons listed include: there are more teams in Division 1 basketball than the last time they expanded, there "are a number of good teams" that are left out of the tournament each year, and "the size [of the tournament] has been at 64 or 65 for a number of years." Yes, we should change because it's been a while since we got bigger.

Expanding the tournament won't change the debate over who "deserves" to go. That debate will be there at 64, at 90, at 128, whatever, unless you invite everyone to the tournament, which pretty much destroys the purpose of a regular season. I think it's safe to say that 64 might be too many teams. I mean, only one 15 seed (between 56 and 60) and no 16 seed has ever won ONE game, let alone made a powerful run at the title.

The only plausible reason for expanding the tournament is to get more games on TV, which would generate more revenue for the TV stations and the NCAA. There's really nothing else that can rationally explain a desire to expand. 128 teams isn't a tournament; there's no need for it.

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