Mental Dimes writers talk possible NCAA Tournament field expansion

The NCAA transformation committee recently came out at the beginning of January with a recommendation to expand NCAA championship brackets to accommodate access for 25% of participating teams.

What does this mean?

This means the NCAA basketball tournaments could possibly be expanded from the current format of 68 teams to 90 teams. Now, these are only recommendations, but this has been a topic up for debate over the last couple of years amongst college basketball fans.

What is the problem with expanding the NCAA Tournament? Wouldn’t that mean more of that great thing we love called March Madness?

A few Mental Dimes writers gave their thoughts on the possibility of expanding the NCAA Tournament.

Mental Dimes

No, no, no. Do not expand the NCAA Tournament! Yes, the tournament is arguably one of the greatest things in all of sports, but expanding the tournament would take away from the regular season.

It is already difficult as it is for the college basketball regular season to gain any traction during the first couple of months because college football and the NFL are still playing games. If the tournament is expanded, I think it takes away from what is special with college basketball.

The regular season.

The regular season is fantastic and those early non-conference matchups that we see between Indiana and Kentucky, Gonzaga and Michigan State are becoming more common each year.

If you use the NET rankings as they sit now — this is the measuring stick the committee uses when picking teams for the tournament — the No. 90 team is St. John’s. Historically, St. John’s has never been a dominant team and right now it sits at 12-6.

If you move further up the rankings, you will see Washington State at No. 70. Washington State is 8-10!

I think if the NCAA Tournament was expanded to 90 teams, it would take away from how special the regular season is and how big of an accomplishment it is for a team to make the NCAA Tournament. We would also get some poor basketball games that would make a lot of people turn their televisions off when trying to watch the tournament at work.

Do not expand the NCAA Tournament!

Corey Moen

I don’t think the NCAA should expand for a multitude of reasons.

1. I think it’s perfect the way it is. 68 is a good number of teams right in the middle

2. It waters down the tournament. Not every team deserves to make it and adding in say a 15-17 team will make the tournament unwatchable.

3. Success in conference tournaments shouldn’t be taken into account. Conference tournaments are a good cash grab for the conferences, but in the grand scheme of things it doesn’t matter because a team who usually wins their conference tournament don’t make it far in the NCAA Tournament.

4. The tournament lasting longer than three weeks isn’t necessary because it’d be competing with the MLB season.

Jamie Malloy

I think the NCAA should expand to 90 teams for a few reasons.

1. The current field of 68 leaves out bubble teams who play in power five conference, but don’t win their conference tournament.

2. Syracuse is one of those teams mentioned as it is currently 11-6 (4-2 in the ACC), but is still projected to be out of the field.

3. Expansion would likely mean the reduction or elimination of bubble teams as these power five teams like Syracuse would basically make it every year from here on out.

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