Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Playoff Creep II

Mid-Majority had a post a week ago discussing expansion of the NCAA Tournament to 96 Teams (H/T CAAHoops). The post talks about how it will not cheapen the regular season. As I explained before, the problem is that the majority of the additional bids will still go to the BCS Conference teams. I do not see how expanding the tournament will make the regular season be more important when all it will take is a winning record for the big conference teams. Also it says that the seeds will matter. The seed difference for 7 and 8 versus 9 and 10 will matter a lot more. However, the upper seeds will matter a lot less. The difference between a 1-seed and a 5-seed is pretty important right now, as a 5-seed faces a formidable opponent in the first game, while the 1-seed does not. But with an extra round the 1-seeds will be facing much better competition. The 5-seeds could face a 12-seed or a 21-seed, while the 1-seed will face either a 16-seed or a 17-seed. Not much of a difference there.

I think the better first step is to start awarding the at-large spots to teams from more conferences. Whether there are 65 or 96 teams, the key to making the regular season matter is to have a closer to uniform distribution of at-large bids.

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