Thursday, December 17, 2009
There's No Need to Expand the NCAA Tournament
Jim Boeheim has been a long-time proponent of expanding the NCAA tournament. He's been an advocate of this well before the infamous snub of a few years ago. We here at T3I have the utmost respect for Coach Boeheim. However, on this issue, this idiot disagrees.
Today, Bud Poliquin has a story about the issue, and specifically about Boeheim's reasons for wanting to expand the tournament. According to the story, Boeheim's reasoning for expansion is as follows:
- The tournament has always expanded. There are more good teams now than ever before and they deserve to be in the tournament.
- This is the longest period of time between field expansions.
- A lesser percentage of teams get into the NCAA tournament than in professional sports.
- The tournament would not be 'watered down' because the bad teams that would be let in will lose anyway.
- Doug Gottlieb says JB only wants expansion because Syracuse didn't get into the tournament. Doug Gottlieb is an idiot.
- We should give more college kids the chance to play in the tournament since it's such a great experience.
Let's break down these points and I'll offer my rebuttals.
The tournament has always expanded. There are more good teams than ever before and they should be in the tournament.
In regards to expansion, this is absolutely true and no one disputes it, since it's a historical fact and all. There are certainly more teams playing Division I basketball (which I'll get to), and the balance of power is now spread more evenly across conference lines, but I'm not so sure there are that many more "better" teams playing now that there was 20 years ago.
There are certainly mid-major programs that have established themselves since the tournament last expanded, but that just means they are taking players from schools that play in traditional power conferences. The rise of mid-majors in a way weakens schools in the middle of the pack of these conferences. An expanded tournament means more bids for mid-majors, but it also means more bids will be going to teams that are well under .500 in their own conference. If you can't win half the games in the league you play in, you don't deserve a chance to play for a national title.
This is the longest period of time between field expansions.
The United States hasn't expanded since adding Alaska and Hawaii 50 years ago. Just because time has passed, it doesn't necessarily make it a bad thing. Sorry Puerto Rico, you're screwed.
A lesser percentage of teams get into the NCAA tournament than in professional sports.
There are lies, damn lies and statistics. People like to point out that a lesser percentage of teams make the NCAA tournament than they do in playoffs in professional sports. You want to know why? Because the number of Division I NCAA basketball keeps growing.
More and more schools are trying to establish Division I programs with the explicit hope of winning an awful conference tournament, making the big dance and getting obliterated as a 16 seed. You know what that gives the sport? More and more teams like the New Jersey Institute of Technology. I don't have a problem with this at all, but let's not kid ourselves by using this argument.
Does anyone know how many teams that starting playing DI basketball since the tournament last expanded have a shot at actually winning the tournament? How about zero point zero. Expanding because the number of programs is increasing is a boondoggle. NJIT and Longwood aren't being screwed here people.
The tournament would not be 'watered down' because the bad teams that would be let in will lose anyway.
Ummmm - then why are we letting them in? The purpose of the tournament is to determine a national champion. By adding more teams, were are diluting the chance to see another Cinderella run by a team like George Mason, because another hurdle has been added that they would have to overcome. No one wants to see a team like George Mason eliminated by a Clemson team that went 6-10 in the ACC and will lose in the next round anyway.
Doug Gottlieb says JB only wants expansion because Syracuse didn't get into the tournament recently. These people [Doug Gottlieb] are idiots.
Does Boeheim want tournament expansion because his team got snubbed? Absolutely not, he's been talking about this for years, because he believes it. I disagree with it, but I respect it. Is Doug Gottlieb an idiot? Without a doubt. This one was easy.
We should give more college kids the chance to play in the tournament since it's such a great experience.
So we should give more teams that have no shot at winning the title an NCAA tournament trip because it's a great experience for the players? Not to get all high and mighty here, but how about we cut out all the other bull sh*t post-season tournaments and give these kids a little more time in the classroom, since most won't be playing pro ball anyway. That's a better, and more useful experience.
Besides, expansion means a larger bracket and there's no way you're going to fit one of those on one sheet of paper using a font anyone can see. I'm getting old. I can't see so well. I don't want to carry around two sheets of paper, I'll lose them. Let's keep the tournament as is.