The ACC proposed a 72 team field for the NCAA Tournament and essentially everyone was opposed to the idea of the NCAA Tournament adding even more teams. Most say that you will add more bad teams that weren’t deserving of making the NCAA Tournament and while teams 69-72 do have worse resumes, there isn’t that big of a gap between those teams in the first place, so by doing this, there won’t be that big of an issue. I think there are some positives that do come with expansion and while initially, people would complain about the expansion it would create some events that could lead to a more exciting tournament.
For starters, there would be more games on Tuesday and Wednesday, which would create more excitement. Every day it seems like there is a boring NCAA Tournament game that takes place on Tuesday and Wednesday, whether it would be the early game or the late game and this will cause people often times to not watch. Having two games taking place at similar times increases the chances of a close game and will almost certainly draw more Television viewers during the First Four. This also can allow the NCAA to mix start times, having the last automatic qualifiers and last teams selected playing at the same time can allow tournament interest to increase as fans can now have choices of what games to watch.
Bigger Upsets. This past year saw the biggest upset in NCAA Tournament history, as top-seeded Virginia lost to UMBC, which is great for the sport in most people’s eyes. March is known for having great upsets, giving it the name of March Madness. The sport will have better upsets though as better teams will be playing as higher seeds. Think of this, a 16 never beats a 1 if the tournament doesn’t expand in 2011. In years before 2011, UMBC would have been a 15 seed and played a 2 seed, as it was not one of the four worst teams in the tournament. By expanding and creating the first four it improved the talent level of the 16 seeds enough to where an upset would be possible. Now imagine expanding and creating more teams and having four 16 seed play-in games. There will be regular 15 seeds playing as 16 seeds, regular 14 seeds playing as 15 seeds and so on and so forth. This will improve the talent of the teams playing in those games enough to where bigger upsets are more likely to happen. By having these bigger upsets, it creates a more fun tournament, with even more madness than there already is.
Allows for more mid-majors or teams without great resumes to make the tournament. Every year the tournament committee always leaves out a good mid-major, like a Monmouth, like a St. Mary’s and the reason is that they don’t have great resumes. They can’t or in St. Mary’s case won’t schedule enough quality opponents to have a chance to make the tournament. This has become an issue and my only way to fix it is to have the next four teams that make it, do it because of the talent they have on their roster. You can’t tell me that Illinois State, Monmouth or Notre Dame couldn’t have made a run into the Sweet 16, they clearly were capable of it, however, their resumes were not there. If we throw resumes out of the way for these extra four selections, there are going to better teams making the tournament and less controversy. It is the NCAA, so it is unlikely they go along with this idea but this could be a way to get in a mid-major into the tournament, despite not having enough quality wins to back a normal selection into the field.
I get it, a 72-team tournament doesn’t on paper sound like a good idea but neither did a 68-team tournament. I think most people will initially look at this as a negative but looking in depth it is can only be a positive. The benefits of it are more games, bigger upsets, and more mid-majors, while the downside is that it invites more teams that “aren’t worthy” of making the NCAA Tournament. At first it sounds weird but in the end, the good outweighs the bad and by doing this the NCAA Tournament would be more entertaining, which is what makes the tournament fun in the first place.