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68 Teams? You're Going The Wrong Way

Updated on December 10, 2012

From 1980-1982 the NCAA got the NCAA tournament right. They had 48 teams in the field. 48 teams that had a legitimate shot to win it all. 48 teams split into 4 brackets consisting of 12 teams each. Anyone following the tournament for the last 20 years is very much aware that a #12 seed beats a #5 seed pretty much every year. From 1985-2010, a span of 26 years, this upset occurred 35 times. That's about 34% of the time. But more significant than that is the fact in this time frame 18 times a #12 seed has been able to win a second game and reach the sweet 16. Only 6 times has any team seeded lower than 12 reached the sweet 16 and no such team has ever made the elite 8. What is this telling us? THAT ANY SEED LOWER THAN 12 HAS NO CHANCE OF WINNING THE TITLE AND SHOULD NOT BE IN THE TOURNAMENT.

But, as with it seems everything in this world, we could not leave well enough alone. In 1983 the NCAA went to 52 teams followed by 64 teams in 1985 and then 65 teams in 2001. Of course the jump to 65 can be explained by noting that since no #16 has EVER WON that one extra team should have just as good a shot(eyes rolling). The real reason is the sympathetic, compassionate organization that is the NCAA was tired of someone's feelings being hurt every year for being left out. But, as with it seems everything in this world, if one person's feelings get hurt than several person's feelings must get hurt. So starting in 2011 we now have increased the field to 68 teams. Apparently having 16 scrubs with no hope was not enough. Now we have 20. Which means Joe Lunardi's job has become even more meaningless. I think Lunardi's day job should be implementing a new feature at DPS called "last four in, first four out" where they set up hoops like at dave and busters and people shoot their way to an available window.

At the time of this hub here are the last four in and first four out; Texas, Tennesse, Oregon, NC State and then the horribly unfortunate Miami, Iona, Arizona, St.Josephs. Let's face facts. All of these teams are mediocre at best and there is little or no difference in the level of play between any of them. Now forgetting for one moment that none of these teams will get even close to the Final Four there will be 8 teams from really bad conferences who will get in ahead of these 8 simply because they won their conference tournament. If we look at the Southland Conference for instance we see that Texas Arlington is the #1 seed. Their non conference record was only 8-6 despite only playing one ranked team. What i am strongly implying is that any one of those 8 teams listed above can kick Texas Arlington's ass(in fact Texas did in the regular season) and so the "bubble talk" is concentrated on the wrong teams. What is really amusing though is the thought of where does it stop? There will be at least one team this year(and every year) who feels they should have got in. So how about 69 next year. Or why not 344 which would include all division 1 basketball schools. Even Nichols State which finished 6-10 in the Southland because they beat Houston Baptist and damnit that should count for something.


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    • Kasey Reusser profile image

      Kasey Reusser 5 years ago from Wichita, Kansas

      As with any system, there are flaws no matter which way we go. While I agree that the selection committee doesn't have an easy job, the system very much favors the big named conferences. Ideally it would open things up for a good mid-major to step in whereas they wouldn't have made it otherwise, it actually gives the Pro big conference mentality the selection committee has to get another mediocre big named school in.

      I'm a huge Wichita State Shocker fan and believe they should've been in the tournament last year (they proved it by winning the NIT), but got shunned when 11 Big East teams got in. WSU should be in this year, but I'm interested to see what good mid-major gets left out for a mediocre big conference team this year.