When each college basketball season starts, every team’s goal is the same. Reach the NCAA Basketball Tournament.
Making the big dance is on every team’s radar and in a lot of programs, not making it can be considered an unsuccessful season. It’s exciting for the players, coaches and fans. Last season, the Virginia Tech men fell short of reaching the 68-team field and played in the NOT, losing in the first round at Cincinnati.
Recently, Dave Gavitt, vice president of men’s basketball, said that postseason expansion is “not necessarily” inevitable but the event’s officials have to consider the impact of the rapidly evolving climate in collegiate sports.
Expanding the March Madness field is not something that should be done.
Expanding the NCAA Tournament should not be an option
Right now, the 68-team field is perfect. A 64-team field was good, but I get expanding the field to include two “play-in” games, and some teams that have won those have gone to win their next game and advance in a tournament they wouldn’t have been included in if the field never expanded.
However, recently, there has been some chatter about the NCAA considering expanding the field to 90 teams which is way too many.
“[The Division I Men’s Basketball Committee] is doing their due diligence to consider every perspective and every angle,” said Gavitt. “It’s the national championship, right? You have to make sure the tournament is special as it’s always been and yet, you have to consider the changes and the things that are going on in the business — conference realignment — that may have some impact and need to be considered. The forward-looking way, rather than looking backwards.”
Honestly, the best time on the sports calendar begins with Selection Sunday in March and the anticipation of sitting in front of the TV waiting to see your school’s name pop up on a line with a seed number next to it. Then the first and second round is when a lot of people use their “sick days” to stay home and watch wall-to-wall college basketball on Thursday and Friday for 12 hours. I’d like to see Virginia Tech in every year and it didn’t feel good last season when they were left on the outside looking in.
Expanding the tournament to 90 teams would be a mistake. This would be a money move, obviously, but would adding more mid-major teams to the field increase viewership? Unlikely as those fans are already tuning in.
There are some things that you never to want change and tinker with and the NCAA Basketball Tournament is one of them. If it’s not broken, don’t fix it.