We, as a collective blogging entity, have spent a fair amount of time trying to figure out why the NFL ownership seems hellbent on fucking over their own product.
Here comes some factions within NCAA Basketball who seem like they are tired of seeing only NFL owners getting ripped for their stupid, stupid ideas. Some folks are discussing the possibility of expanding the tournament to 96 teams, with the top 32 teams getting a first round bye. Seriously!
I am biased in this, in that I love the current format. I love the current format so much that I take the first two days of the tournament off from work so I can enjoy all the upsets, and almost upsets from the comfort of my home. I remember Coppin State knocking off #2 seed South Carolina back in the day. I remember when Gonzaga wasn't a team that everyone expected in the Sweet Sixteen. I remember when Steve Nash was some ninja no one heard of, playing for some backwater California system team. But I don't think I have to be a hardcore fan to realize how stupid this idea is.
Chris Chase, over at Yahoo's The Dagger, lists a number of reasons why this is a bad idea. There's how difficult it will be to make a pool with that kind of field, how complicated it will be, and plenty of other reasons.
But I will tell you what is the reason I hate this idea--it's what I mentioned in the first paragraph--Coppin State vs. South Carolina. This is a double-edged argument, and I'm somewhat confusing myself as I think it through, but here it goes.
A Sixteen seed has never, even beaten a #1 seed. That says to me no expansion necessary--we are already getting teams that have no shot at winning in the first round. And it seems like cheating to give those teams a bit of a pass by playing teams not in the first round. "Jackson State gave Duke a scare!" is a lot more fun than "Jackson State beat Providence."
So, maybe, MAYBE, you could argue for the top 4 teams to get a bye. But the top 32? That's just a brazen money grab. Add a whole week to the tournament, and you've eliminated the sheer joy of the 12 vs 5 upset, or the 13 vs 4 upset? It's a crazy stupid idea, and the NCAA needs to stop talking about it even being a possibility. This tournament is essentially perfect as it is, and fucking with it is so obviously a bad idea, it makes one wonder not just about the smarts of the guys running the NCAA Basketball team, it makes one question their sanity.
This is all in the context of the NCAA and CBS current TV contract coming to an end, and it appears the NCAA is looking at all their options, and it is possible that this was just a crazy idea that was thrown out there, and got reported without any reference to how serious of an idea this is, or how far it will be pursued. It needs to be not pursued at all.