Monday, March 15, 2010

It’s mad to mess with March Madness.

If you haven’t had a chance to watch the Sports Reporters Sunday Mornings on ESPN, you ought to. It airs at 7:30am Mountain Time. The podcasts can be found at here. Great insight and analysis, week in and week out.

A recent topic of discussion included thoughts by the NCAA to increase the number of teams in the college basketball tournament known as “March Madness” from 65 to 96. Yes, 96. Which would essentially mean everyone gets in. Even making #65 in what used to be a 64 team bracket via a “Play-in” doesn’t make sense. In fact it’s nonsense.

But 96 teams? Come on folks! The three weekends that make up the current structure are as good as any in sports. The best, in the minds of many fans. What makes the current format successful, along with exciting basketball and the opportunities for Cinderella teams to make it in is the involvement of fans. The biggest being filling out your bracket sheets in the myriad of office pools and on-line games. There’s nothing like it in sports.

Can you even imagine a 96 team bracket? Nope, this idea just won’t fly. It’s anything but a slam-dunk. More like a slam-dud, dude.

What’s truly weird is that the same “Brain” trust behind all this is the same one that refuses to install a playoff in College Football. Yet now they want to ruin one of the best events in sports.

Even with the current format, let’s face it, the only people watching #3 play #14 in first round action are fans of those teams. Now should #14 win, welcome Cinderella! Then we watch and it’s when the fun begins, except when our brackets self-implode the first weekend.

So please NCAA and the Networks involved, leave a great thing just that, a great thing.

It’s madness to mess with March Madness.

John W. Scherer
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