By all reports, it’s a done-deal…the NCAA Tournament will expand to 96 teams sooner than later. For the record, I’m not patently against it as many “purists” are. What is a purist, anyway? Why don’t we just call the purists what they really are – cranky opponents to change:
“Your old road is rapidly agin’.
Please get out of the new one if you can’t lend your hand
For the times they are a-changin’.”
Now, from time to time, the purist makes a great point. Take the professional athletes participating in the Olympics situation. The purist says, “Bah, I don’t like it.” Good call. Then there’s MLB’s Wild Card – Costas…err the purist… “Bah, I don’t like it.” WRONG!
The truth is that it’s not about purist vs. activist. It’s about logic and argument. If it makes sense to leave well enough alone, then we ought to. If it makes sense to adjust in the presence of compelling evidence, then we ought to.
To date, no fact, no stat, no case has been presented in this court room that tilts my scale in favor of expansion. And Sunday evening didn’t help.
Once again, we’ve reached the hours after selection, and there’s (at most) a handful of controversy. Virginia Tech, Mississippi State, and Illinois – that’s about it. And that’s pretty much how it is every year. Generally, three to five teams on the outside have a legitimate argument for inclusion. Three to five…not 32.
And so there it is. Three to five teams, and yet every year, we congratulate the committee for putting together a solid tournament field. Is it that hard? Here you go fellas:
1 – Take your top 25 and add the “others receiving votes” in increasing numerical order. The most votes becomes 26; the second most votes becomes 27; and so on. That gets us around 42, 43 teams.
2 – Factor in the automatic qualifying teams that did not make the top 42 or 43. That gets you to about 52 teams.
3 – Sprinkle in the best of the bubbles, and there you go.
Setting the bracket is not that hard - the real reason to leave the tournament alone.