With more money to be made and quality teams being left out, the NCAA’s end of season basketball tournament is expanding from 65 teams to 68. They will add three more play-in games to the current format, so there will be 4 play-in games leading in to the round of 64.
The round of play-in games will be dubbed “The First Four.” The round of 64 will be considered the 2nd round, and the round of 32 will be called the third round. The rounds of 16, 8, and 4 will continue to go by their cutesie little names.
There was talk that they would expand the tournament to a whopping 96 teams which would have watered down the value of making the tournament, made it less likely for the best team to come out on top, and in my opinion really ruin March Madness.
Three more at-large bubble teams will join the field so hopefully teams like Virginia Tech who somehow are inexplicably left out of the tournament every year will get to participate, but the tournament won’t be flooded with the Austin Peays of the world.
The best news may be that new TV contracts will allow every game to be televised in totality, so nobody will have to miss their team play because the network decided to air a different game.
My only concern is that this change is just a prelude to the tournament expanding to 96 teams. Hopefully this doesn’t happen, and for now basketball fans everywhere should breathe a sigh of relief, as the NCAA took the right steps to get more deserving teams in without wrecking March Madness.