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THE ANNUAL BASKETBALL TOURNEY RANT…WITH a SLIGHT TWIST!

Every year I saw basically the same thing.  How the NCAA Basketball tourney needs immediate reform.  I’ll keep saying it until it happens or I stop blogging or I get promoted to glory.  Here it is in a nutshell:

  • The selection committee should not be Division I coaches or ADs or anyone else associated with a Div. I school other than maybe as an alum.  I would have Division II/III coaches do the Division I selection and vice versa.  Or have the women select the men and vice versa!  The reason for this that I do not buy that just because someone steps out of the room as a school is considered does not prevent the conflict of interest because he or she could still influence the bracket – who they play – or at least have some ideas there.  Remove that issue once and for all.
  • On a related note, if Division II/III coaches select there is no issue of the conference your school is in, either.
  • The tournament should take the regular season champion and the conference tourney winner in every conference.  Every conference should have their best team in the NCAA tournament.  I would add the defending NCAA and NIT champion provided they had a winning season.  That might increase the tourney to something like 96 teams but that is necessary to do right.  This writer (Gary Parrish at CBS Sports) is on the right track about the Murray State issue (they won 25 straight games but lost in the semis of their conference tournament and may not be selected to the NCAAs) but he did not come up with my idea.  Reid Forgrave at Fox Sports also came close to my William Lloyd Garrison position on this:

On a podcast this week, Gary Parrish of CBSSports.com floated the best idea I’ve heard yet to solve this annual issue for mid-major schools that won their regular season but not their conference tournament. His proposal was this: Change the First Four in Dayton. Two of those games ought to be between the type of at-large teams that get in with our current system, bubble teams like Indiana or Texas A&M. The other two games ought to be between the best teams in one-bid leagues who didn’t get the automatic bid – teams like Murray State. They play each other to get their shot at proper NCAA tournament games.

But the answer is:  EVERY regular season conference champ gets into the tourney.  Period.  Otherwise this happens as Forgrave puts it:

And this, I believe, is because of a flaw in the system, a flaw that boils every single season in one-bid conferences like the Ohio Valley down to a few games in March.

To be blunt, it sucks, and it needs to change.

  • The precious bubble spots should go to top teams from mid-major conferences rather than retreads from major conferences who get higher RPIs by virtue of who the play regularly.
  • The NCAA or whoever runs college sports these days ought to limit paying players to football or expand the concept to all Division I basketball schools.  Otherwise the tournament will be perverted even more than it in now.
  • Private gambling on the tournament should be legalized as long as it is not an amount that affects the game’s outcome.
  • Selection Sunday should be Selection Monday – let the men have Monday and the ladies Tuesday.  This gives the committee a morning after the excitement to rethink their choices.
  • A fan should be a voting member of the selection committee.  I nominate in 2017 former President Barack Obama (That felt good to write!) as the fan.

Now we’ll have it out in the open again for another year.  May Murray State get selected and if not I hope they cream their way through the NIT.

About Elwood Sanders

Elwood "Sandy" Sanders is a Hanover attorney who is an Appellate Procedure Consultant for Lantagne Legal Printing and has written ten scholarly legal articles. Sandy was also Virginia's first Appellate Defender and also helped bring curling in VA! (None of these titles imply any endorsement of Sanders’ views)

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