March Madness changes I'd make

If i ran the NCAA basketball tourney commitee, here are the changes I’d make:

1.Regular Season Confrence Champs “Dance”
2.Must be in top half of Confrence

(much more wedded to #1)

Whenever I look at a team’s resume I go through this checklist:

  1. Winning Conf. record? Yes-? #2 No-NIT
  2. 20 Wins? Yes-NCAA No- ? #3
  3. Single-digit loses? Yes-NCAA No-NIT

I ignore conf. affiliation.

Keep it at no more than 64 teams, and perhaps even cut it back to when it was 48 teams so that it actually matters. As it stands now around half of Division I gets into the tournament. If it expands like they say they want, there’s no point in playing the season because the teams won’t even need a winning record to get in as a bottom-feeder.

Make it elite. That’s the whole point. Earn your way in.

There are about 300 D-I teams, so it’s NOWHERE near half!

…and upon looking it up I find that there are 346 (!) Division I basketball teams. Patently ridiculous, but there it is. So only one out of six get a shot with one out of three making a major postseason tournament. I suppose that’s elite enough. Why dilute it more? 64 teams, tops. I’m sticking to that.

Airman Doors: ITA that 64 is ideal, just telling you how large D-I is. Though, I could live with 96 or 128.

How does everyone else feel about Regular Season champs getting automatic bids in the “Dance”?

The regular season conference champions from major conferences usually make it anyway. The only time the regular season champ might not make it is when you’re dealing with a small ‘one-bid’ conference like the Summit or the MEAC or one of those. I’m fine with a few more of those teams getting in - one of my objections to the 68-team concept is that it’s really just a way to cheat these teams out of ‘real’ NCAA game so the spot can go to a mediocre team from a major conference. But it’s not a big deal one way or the other. These teams usually lose their first game anyway.

The single-digit loss criterion makes no sense. It’s completely arbitrary and it would make it impossible to schedule the tournament since you don’t know how many teams would qualify. Last season around 45 teams lost 10 games or fewer.

Not only that, it would have kept out eventual champs Kansas in 1988 and NC State in 1883.

Requiring single digit losses would encourage a parade of cupcakes in the non-conference schedule. I think every team in a major conference with a winning conference record should get in, along with say the top 25% from each non-major conference.

They should let all 346 teams in, so that way nobody is a loser and everyone is a winner, and nobody will feel bad.

The other thing it would do is reward good teams in weak conferences and punish teams in tougher conferences. Murray State went 30-5 last year, and more power to them for it, but that record doesn’t automatically make them better than a decent team in the Big East.

All I mean is: Teams that have records like (19-11, 8-8) shouldn’t get in. I understand you can’t plan on the fly. Also notice, You have two more criteria to get through before it even matters.

You basically stole my change. Conference champions (regardless of how tiny the conference) would not be stuck in play-in games. On the bubble? You might go to a play-in. But not conference champions.

Do you understand that 20 wins is an arbitrary cutoff? More wins is better than fewer, but it’s not like having a 20th win guarantees a better team. A team shouldn’t be in or out just because they have a round, psychologically pleasing number of wins.

I hate the play-in games, actually. I agree that doing it the way you describe is more fair, but I was opposed to having one of them and I think having four is ridiculous. I just think they’re bullshit: I don’t care if the #7 team in the ACC misses out because there are two teams from the Big Sky conference this year. 64 is fine.

You were still sort of right originally, though, because from the power conferences, half the teams DO make it. And it’s too many, IMO–it dilutes the regular season, and diminshes “making the tournament” into insignificance.

Yeah, I don’t disagree with you. I’ve just given up on arguing against them (and arguing against the inevitable massive tournament expansion) for the same reason I’ve given up on banging my head against the wall.

marley-You’re right that my win plateau is no less arbitrary than my loss plateau. I also loathe the play-in games, go back to 64!

I’m not sure what’s meant by “Dance”, but here’s my idea to improve the tournament: Replace the massive single-elimination tournament with a two-stage “World Cup”-like tournament. There’s various ways of doing that, but my suggestion is below.

Stage One: Group the 48 teams into 8 groups of 6. Use some sort of seating to keep the best teams in different groups. Try to avoid placing two teams from the same conference in the same group. Every team plays each other team in their group once. Rank the teams in the group by win-loss record, with points-scored differential to break ties.

Stage Two: The top 2 teams of each group advance to a 16-team single-elimination bracket. Seeding is based solely on Stage-One performance (win-loss record, points-scored differential). Teams play until eliminated.

The champion will have played 9 games total, and every team plays at least 5. There’s a total of 135 games played. I think fewer teams is better, but the system can be expanded easily enough.

Pleo, much love and all that… but can I ask how you think that would improve the tournament? Seems like throwing the baby out with the bathwater to me.

Fewer teams, more games and better seeding.