Saturday, April 10, 2010

NCAA Basketball Tournament Expansion Idea.

There is little doubt that the NCAA will expand the Basketball Championship Tournament adding more teams. There is discussion as to increasing it from 64/65 teams to 96 to maybe even 128 teams.

It is always a risk to change a format this is so popular, however this is about money. From what we are hearing is that CBS is not making the money they need to continue with this tournament contract. The thought of adding teams would potentially add the fan bases of each, at least in the early rounds. However, aren't college basketball fans already watching? If CBS wants this, and if the NCAA wants this change you can bet it is going to happen.

In a discussion with my son, we came up with an idea that would work and might make people stay even more interested in the tournament even after their team lost. You would have to suspect that rating drop around the country as the teams different areas follow are eliminated. Finally by the finals you find those who are college basketball fans and those following the teams still playing. Just look at how inexpensive the championship game was for scalped tickets this year after many West Virginia and Michigan State fans sold their tickets and went home.

Why not do the tournament like a wrestling tournament with a double elimination? This way if a big powerhouse with a massive and rabid fan base get beat early like Kansas, Kentucky, or Syracuse, they would drop down into the "wrestle back" brackets and keep playing trying to reach a 3rd place finish.

This format should incorporate the NIT Tournament into the NCAA. Expand it to 128 teams, all into the NCAA. Then when teams lose they drop back into the play in bracket and that would become the NIT, the "Champion" of that bracket would place 3rd in the NCAA and would get the NIT trophy. These playback games would be played on Mondays through Fridays on the home court of the highest seated team just like the NIT. The Winner's bracket would still continue the same format of playing on the weekends after the first round.

The NIT Championship Tournament could be in Madison Square Garden and feature three games to determine 3rd and 4th, 5th and 6th, and 7th and 8th. Each team would then receive All American status as the top 8 in the NCAA. The winners bracket would be just the same as it is now.

If they wanted to add some more drama, they could have the first round be single elimination where if you lose your done in the first game. That might be a good idea to get rid of some of the teams with that big of an expansion of the tournament that simply aren't very good. Or they could all be double elimination and those bad teams would get "double dipped" a wrestling term for losing their first two games and out.

This is a very easy format to run, nearly any wrestler in America could set up the brackets for you. It would allow teams like Kentucky, Kansas, and Syracuse to see if they can regroup after losing a shot at the title and refocus to work back to the NIT Championship and 3rd place in the NCAA. More importantly their fans could keep spending their money and stay glued to their televisions.