More March Madness

Kudos to the NCAA Men’s Basketball Committee.  They’ve expanded the field from 65 teams to 68.  This means there will now be three extra games known as the “First Four.”

The format last year had the two lowest seeded teams face off in a “play-in” game for the right to get blown out in the first round.  Whoopee!!  Next March there will actually be some excitement on that second Tuesday in March.  Two of the games will feature the last four teams into the tourney: your so-called “bubble teams” and the other two games will feature the lowest ranked four teams in the field.  For example, last year we could have had Florida vs Illinois and Minnesota vs Arizona St.  Those are great games standing alone, now imagine if their post-season hopes hinged on that one game.  Ohhhh the potential.

This is the best thing the NCAA could have done.  There were rumblings about expanding out to 96 teams.  That would have taken all the meaning out of the thing.  Really who would want to see a 17-14 UConn team get blown out in the first round.  That was dumb, this is smart.

Finally the NCAA used its noodle and actually came up with a good idea.  Yes it was all about money but this may actually improve the whole thing. 

Just thinking about the matchups I gotta think the winners of the two games between the lowest seeded teams will play the two highest ranked #1’s.  The winners of the other two games I think have to play each other in the next round.  They would essentially be one of the 8/9 games.  I can’t imagine sticking a higher ranked team (like a #5 seed) with a team that has a bit of momentum behind them.  The fairest and most logical thing is to have the two winners face-off against each other.  Of course fair and logical are not strong suits of the NCAA.

Of course this means that doing the brackets this season will be brutal.  Any volunteers???

Jason Hendry is a morning director at NBC Connecticut.  He is an avid sports fan who also likes to dabble in politics, music, food, movies and other aspects of pop culture.  His true passions in life is his family and baseball.

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