Thanks to T. Kyle, I came across this entry from the usually useless Gregg Doyel, who in turn sent me to this bit of comedy gold from the WaPo’s Tracee Hamilton that I’m ashamed to admit I missed when it first appeared. Discussing the possible expansion of the NCAA basketball tourney to 96 teams, Hamilton offers this observation:
In other words, this is the worst idea in the history of ideas. Well, Jay Leno at 10 p.m. was the worst idea in the history of ideas. This is the worst idea in the history of sports ideas, and that includes the Bowl Championship Series, the previous leader in the category.
Why so bad? Let her count the ways.
… What is it about corporate greed that, when a company is making a kabillion dollars, it immediately begins wondering, “How can I make a kabillion and one dollars?” Capitalism is great, as long as you don’t screw up the product. The expanded field would definitely screw up the product.
Since the field expanded to 64 teams in 1985, has there ever been a year when you watched the Selection Show and thought, “Man, 31 teams got hosed.” No. There have never been 31 teams who deserved to make the field but didn’t. One or two, maybe. Not 31.
The NCAA would have us believe that more mid-majors would make it, but a more likely scenario is that virtually the entire ACC, Big East, SEC and Big 12 would be chosen. Or maybe one team from each will be left out, for appearance’s sake. So you’ll end up with conference foes playing each other as early as the first round. And won’t that be scintillating? Everyone needs to see a third meeting each March between, say, Nebraska and Iowa State. Or a fourth, depending on the conference tournaments.
The expanded field would eliminate the goal of winning 20 games; that bar would probably be dropped to 17 or 18. And if 18 wins is good enough, a team would no longer need a “signature” win to make it. That could dramatically alter a team’s nonconference schedule. There’d be little reason to load up on tough nonconference foes, which would make college hoops in November and December less interesting.
If the top 32 seeds get first-round byes, that also dilutes the championship itself…
She apparently wrote that without the slightest bit of self-parody in mind. I don’t know how people like Hamilton are able to keep a straight face.