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Extremely bad ideas

Posted by Charles P. Pierce  February 1, 2010 02:23 PM

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I keep hearing from people in and around college hoops that the change to a 96-team NCAA men's basketball tournament is pretty much a done deal. As will become apparent over the next couple of months, the tournament is my favorite sports event of them all. (In its own way, it's what this country has for a World Cup.) I would like someone to explain to me why this latest tinkering is in any way a good idea. (Coach Krzyzewski, come on down.) This isn't about making sure that, say, Harvard and Cornell both make it this year, although Cornell may have taken care of that notion over the weekend). This isn't about making sure that the Missouri Valley gets six teams into the field instead of five. This is about making sure that some team from a BCS conference that goes 6-12 in their league manages to make the field, thereby keeping its coach from getting fired. (Which is probably why Krzyzewski is so hot for the idea. It's an jobs program for his pals.) How this increases the value of the regular season is beyond me.You can half-step it from January until March and make it anyway. And you can't restrict it to teams that go .500 or better in their leagues, because you won't have enough teams.

More to the point, it's another example of taking something that's wildly successful and "improving" it by dilution. Outside of gamblers, and I don't minimize their importance in all of this, I don't see who benefits from this.
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