In for a penny, in for a pound.

North Carolina’s AD favors a 128-team basketball tournament.  It’s all about the math… and judiciously trimming the regular season.

… Until 1985, when the field was expanded from 48 to 64 teams, an NCAA bid was ridiculously difficult to land mathematically.

From 1953 through 1974, the field was limited to 22 qualifiers at a time when about 225 teams were eligible. That’s 9.7 percent.

During most of those years, MLB had 16 teams and only the National and American League champs played on after the final regular season games. That still comes out 12.5 percent.

The popular theory is that an expansion to 128 teams would wipe out postseason conference tournaments. Cunningham doesn’t entirely agree.

“There are lot of models that would have to be considered,” he said.

One possibility would be to eliminate one of two regular-season games from the early schedule, then start and conference regular-season schedules earlier.

Whichever makes the most money wins.  Same as it ever was.

Good thing the people making decisions about this aren’t the same people entrusted with college football’s postsea… uh, never mind.

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16 Comments

Filed under BCS/Playoffs

16 responses to “In for a penny, in for a pound.

  1. Connor

    Every conference tournament champ moves into the NCAA tournament. Combined it’s really one big 300+ team, single elimination tournament with re-seeding and wild cards half way through. Expanding it to 96 or 128 doesn’t really change much. There’s already zero point to the regular season as every team has exactly the same chance come conference tournament time.

  2. Nate Dawg

    Soooo…now I won’t have to start caring until the 4th or 5th round instead of the 2nd or 3rd round? Ok, whateves…
    Oh, and I sure hope we don’t loose that awbarn game.

    • Always Someone Else's Fault

      I’m the opposite. I’ll watch everything opening weekend, and then I pick and choose my games after that.

      • Nate Dawg

        I can see that strategy. I do wonder how much more excited I’d be if the Dawgs were a contender or even a favorite. I wonder how that would change the way I watched – watch every game to see who their opponent might be or how it was all shaking out or just the games they played in. Probably pay lots more attention to the whole thing.

        • Zdawg

          I’m a little surprised Fox is struggling this bad. I thought for sure he would pick up one or two big recruits from Atlanta, but it looks like we still struggle to break into that area.

  3. Always Someone Else's Fault

    The ACC runs through coaches in the bottom half of its league because they can’t reliably land NCAA bids. The ACC can’t get good coaches in the bottom half of its league because those programs can’t reliably land NCAA bids. Outside of Duke and UNC, it’s become a coach-killer league. I think that’s driving 128 more than incremental revenue issues.

  4. Bob

    A total joke. And if we are not careful, that is the mentality that will crush the CFB regular season.

  5. Monday Night Frotteur

    ODU fans were awfully crestfallen about losing to Drexel last weekend, even though the loss did not affect either team’s postseasons (not even the seeding for the cAA tournament). Missouri and Kansas folks were very amped up over a (fantastically played, tension filled) game that meant very little to either team’s postseasons.

    But you know that. You and your Bulldog cronies paid plenty of attention to Georgia games after week two, when Georgia’s season was over and most of the remaining games were “meaningless.”

    • Bob

      No one is watching on TV. So yeah, outside a school’s own fans, no one else cares. The games are next to meaningless.

  6. Andy Rooney

    We should have seen this coming when they went from 65 to 68 last year. I’m guessing that it will be up to at least 96 within 5 years (and totally ruined at that point).

    Even though the regular season has been devalued, most people love the tournament. However, I think the powers-that-be are going to find out in a very painful way that the fans will not care for a tournament that is too big and too drawn out.

    • Hackerdog

      Most people love the tournament because that’s all there is to love. And you’re right. When it’s too big, the early rounds will be ignored. So the ADs will figure they need even more teams to “create interest”.

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  8. Darrron Rovelll

    Sorry Senator – I don’t buy this one. The expansion of the NCAA tournament from 64/65 teams to 68 teams added 2 total games NCAA tourney schedule. The UNC AD makes a pretty good point that about the playoff pool – and expansion increased the pool by about 1.5%.

    His point about reducing the regular season is a pretty good one. Consider that that the 1985 national champion Villanova team finished with a record of 25-10. In order to win the title, Villanova played 6 NCAA tournament games so their regular season & conference tourney schedule was 29 games.

    In the 2010-11 season, UCONN finished as the champs with a record of 32-9. They also played 6 NCAA tourney games to win the title, so their regular season & conference tourney schedule was a total of 35 games.

    When you consider that most college basketball teams play 2 games per week, they have added 3 additional weeks to the regular season. The regular season has grown morbidly obese.

    Throw in a few other factors like total number of regular season games available on a myriad of television networks and losing 4 or 5 generations worth high school basketball’s best talent either straight to the NBA or after a single college season. There are many reasons for the decline of regular season college basketball but expansion of the NCAA tournament either in 1985 or 2010 is not one of them.