Monday, March 16, 2009
If you've seen Jay Bilas over the past few weeks you've probably noticed that he's been advocating the NCAA Tournament to completely eliminate the Auto-bids and go to a 64 team at-large tournament. Seriously he's advocating this, saying the story of a team like Penn St. would be just as good as a team like Vermont. They both have interesting kids and they both want to play in the tournament just as badly as the other.
To this I say, wow. Isn't half the intrigue of the first round of the NCAA tournament about watching those 12 seeds from the MAC face off against a 5 seed from the Big 10 and give them a run for their money. Isn't the tournament about Hampton shocking the world and knocking off Tim Floyd's #2 seeded Iowa Cyclones? Do we really need 10 teams from the ACC and 10 from the Big East and 10 from the Big Ten instead of an Ivy League school and a SWAC school? So what if the tournament isn't the best 65 teams in the country. Does Penn St. or VaTech or Notre Dame really have a chance to win the National Championship?
Furthermore, if you eliminate the Autobids you might as well just religate conferences like the Ivy League to division 2 because in all likelihood none of those teams are going to amongst the top 65. In addition, how much are we watering down both conference play and conference tournaments. If an extra 31 at large bids are given out, then teams like VaTech and Florida wouldn't have been playing for their lives in the tournament. They would have already been in.
All in all, taking away the autobids just strips the NCAA tournament of part of its heart. It would be a completely miserable idea.