NCAA Play in Game

Monday, March 17, 2008
I really don't like the concept of the NCAA play in game.

A few years ago, the NCAA decided that it would let 65 teams into the tournament rather than the 64. The two worse teams play a game before the tournament actually begins. The winner of that game gets a #16 seed and gets to play a #1 seed. This year the honor belongs to Mt. Saint Marys and Coppin State.

They started this a few years ago when one of the conferences split up and created two. Since conference champions get an automatic bid, the NCAA decided to increase the number of teams that make the tournament rather than reduce the number of at large bids.

There is usually controversy every year about a team that doesn't quite make it in, so it might be understandable why the NCAA did what it did. But really, couldn't they just suck it up and make the hard decision. Why this bothers me is that I hate when people can't make hard choices and differentiate people. Telling a team that they aren't going to play in the tournament is hard. Letting them in is easy. If it really is so difficult, just let all 200 or schools in the tournament. It would just increase the number of games by one or two depending on how you structured it.

Getting to the tournament should be special. To make it special, that means there has to be a cutoff point and some teams just aren't going to make it in. 64 is a natural cutoff point and it should remain there. Of course that will never happen because the game has actually become somewhat popular and it allows the NCAA to make a few more bucks.