Interesting article by John Feinstein in today’s Washington Post. Excerpts follow -
Let us begin today with a very simple statement: The NCAA men’s basketball tournament does not need more teams. If anything, it needs one less team, removing the horrific play-in game that forces one team to go home without getting to go to an actual tournament site.
Last Saturday, understandably emotional in the wake of his team’s 68-66 loss to North Carolina in the ACC tournament, Virginia Tech Coach Seth Greenberg declared there was no way his team was not one of the best 65 teams in the country.
Check out some of Virginia Tech’s nonconference games: Elon, Eastern Washington, UNC Asheville (a decent team but the game was, of course, at Cassell Coliseum), UNC Greensboro, Liberty, Charleston Southern. Heck, maybe Greenberg should have demanded a bid as the Big South champion. Take out those games and Virginia Tech was 13-13.
[What did the Atlantic Coast sports writers see that Feinstein didn't when they voted Seth Greenberg 2008 ACC Coach of the Year?]
In short, the big guys are given every possible chance to get into the tournament. The answer when they fail to make it isn’t to whine that life is unfair and more teams should get in but to find a way to get better the next year.
The NCAA doesn’t get very many things right, but it got this basketball tournament exactly right in 1985 when Wayne Duke and Vic Bubas pushed to expand it from 53 teams to 64.
That’s what we have right now: competition to get in and competition once you’re in. Expanding the tournament would be good for one group: power-conference coaches. It would be bad for everyone else. Most important, it would be bad for college basketball.
[Add to that the fact that no # 16 seed has ever beaten a #1 seed in the NCAA Tournament.]