Recently, some NCAA bigwigs have decided to leak the story that they are considering expanding the NCAA Tournament, aka March Madness from the standard 65 teams to a semi-unwieldy 96. This has been met with a mixture of groans, complaints and sighs. On the one hand, it’s nave to believe that this wasn’t going to be a possibility; on the other hand, what a stupid idea.
As it stands right now, there seems to be very little wrong with March Madness. Some teams get left out every year and bitch about it for a bit, but then they realize that if they hadn’t lost to Eastern Asscrack University, maybe they would not be in their predicament.
Coaches argue that only 65 of the over 360 basketball teams get to taste the sweet nectar that is Madness and that it’s not fair that almost half the football teams get to go to the postseason. To which I say, a) when is life supposed to be fair? b) football only plays 12 games, so quit your complaining and c) I’m guessing a third of the teams that play in the football ‘postseason” would much rather not play and save some cash.
More importantly, who wants to watch another two rounds of tournament games? Does anyone have that kind of attention span? And these won’t be fun games to watch either it’ll be Duke against teams with losing records. If you watched this year’s tournament, you would’ve noticed that venues had a tough time selling tickets for the first round match-ups.
Imagine an even worse team coming to play try to wrap your head around the situation that would ensue.
There’s a rational reason why the NCAA wants to go to 96 teams it wants to avoid a repeat of this year’s meltdown where University of Connecticut and North Carolina University at Chapel Hill didn’t make the field. Losing such big teams probably cost the first round games over a million viewers, but I think overall, the quality of games were a lot better. Wasn’t it great that Northern Iowa and Cornell got to play so well? Or would you rather have been tormented with a first round flame-out of North Carolina? Exactly.
I think the organizers fail to realize how little average people care about college basketball before March. The whole point of the sport is to get to the point in the season where that hot chick who doesn’t know Iona from Iowa fills out a bracket and wins your office pool.
Why spoil the fun by adding another level of confusion? Plus, it’s not like people will stop complaining that they didn’t make the dance if there are 96 teams. The only difference is that now, teams 66-70 may have a legitimate gripe, whereas teams 97-100 will just seem like those high school kids who didn’t get to go to prom.
So here is my plea for the NCAA brass, please for the love of all that is holy, resist the urge to add 31 irrelevant, mediocre teams to a great event. For once in your miserable, money-grubbing lives, don’t think with your wallets, think with your heads.
Maystrovsky is a member of the class of 2010.