Thursday, April 01, 2010

Oh, NCAA--Y'All So Stupid

AP writer John Marshall has an article out on what the 96-team NCAA Men's Tournament might look like, if it goes through (which it sounds like it is, barring an intervention of some sort).  And Sweet Christmas, is this a stupid fucking plan they've cooked up.  We talked about how bad an idea this was, back when we thought it was just getting kicked around.

The article suggests that NCAA was most worried about the amount of time the student-athletes would be out of school.  And maybe that is true, for the schools.  But for the fans?  We don't care that much--we care about how the tournament is going to work, and how we will organize our workplace pools, which contribute a ton of money to the economy, and help make the NCAA Tournament the most watched, most talked about sporting event in America each and every year.  Don't like it?  Tough shit--that's the way the world is.  And the NCAA knows this, and seems bent on fucking over their fans.

Read this:

The new format would start two days later than the current 65-team field because it would eliminate the Tuesday play-in game and would conclude on the same day, a Monday. It would be played at one fewer venue—again, the play-in game—and the NCAA says it would include no additional travel time for teams.
The first-round games for the 64 non-bye teams would take place on Thursday and Friday, with the winners playing the top eight seeds in each region on Saturday and Sunday. Winners on Saturday would likely play again on Tuesday, and the Sunday winners on Wednesday.
Look, the Play-In Game has been stupid from the beginning--no one cares about who gets to be the fourth #16 seed/Sacrificial Lamb.  I'm all for getting rid of it--but adding 31 new sacrificial lambs into the mix isn't a fix.  It's a doubling down on a mistake six times.
As bad as this idea is--and like I said before, it is Gob-smackingly stupid--it is even worse to condense all of those games into the same time frame as the current tournament.  How does the audience, who loves it because they are gambling small amounts of money on it, interact with this tournament?  There will be 32 meaningless games on Thursday and Friday.  There will be the Top 32 teams, rested, playing--at best--the bottom 32 teams who will have played 48 hours before.   At 5pm, on a Friday, there will still be no complete Tournament Bracket to fill out.  Goodbye, work pools.  
The NCAA seems intent on ruining their model--after a year in which the model has proven amazingly compelling.  But please notice--after a crazy, upside down tournament, there isn't an 8 seed in the Final Four.  In fact, 50% of them lost in the first round (UNLV & Texas).  But the NCAA has determined those teams are worthy of a free pass into the next round.  75% of the 7 seeds were eliminated on Day 1 this year.  They will be protected.  50% of the #6 seeds lost in the first round this year.  They will be protected.  These are teams not worthy of fucking byes.  They do not deserve the advantage of coming in rested, to play a team that played a game 48 hours previous.  It's fucking UNFAIR.
Just for the fuck of it--let's look at teams from this year that would have earned a first round bye, if these seeds were in play in this new system--UNLV, Georgetown, Oklahoma State, Vanderbilt, Texas, Temple, Marquette, Clemson, Notre Dame, Richmond.  That's 10 teams--over 17% of the field, or 34% of the Bye Squad--that was eliminated in the first round.  Say goodbye to that idea--does Georgetown lose to Ohio University in this new model? No.  And that's good for the NCAA--big time programs are much more likely to advance in this model.
This isn't about fairness, this isn't about the fans.  This isn't about the players--it is about money and it is about a coach's job security.  The NCAA is entering an opt-out year with their contract with CBS, and they are floating this model to ESPN and others (mainly ESPN)--more games means more money!  Until the ratings fucking crash.  
It is a horrible mashing of interests--the NCAA wants it because they want more money; the coaches want it, because they love the opportunity to pad their resume; ESPN wants it because they want post-season  programming in March.  Fans?  I can hear them suits saying, "Fuck 'em--they'll come around."  
In a year in which the NFL is busy fucking up their model, I didn't think I'd be saying someone else is fucking up worse--but the NCAA is well on their way to doing exactly that.


Andrew Wice said...

Just insane.

The two most popular sports in America (college basketball and the NFL) must be trying to drive everyone to NASCAR.

Whatever happened to "if it ain't broke ...."

Oh, and why is a 96-team tournament a good idea for basketball, but a 4, 8 or 16 game tournament for football impossible?

I don't understand.

Big Blue Monkey 2: The Quickening said...

Don't even stop to compare the two--that's brain exploding territory there.

And the new phrasing apparently is, "If it ain't broke, let's try to milk it until it is broke."

(see what I did there? With "ain't broke" vs. "broke")

You might be surprised that Tubby Smith, whose Gophers barely made it into the tournament, and lost in the first round, is all for expansion. Boo shit fuck ass.