Originally Published: Apr 22, 2010 2:39 PM CDT
I guess we can never accuse the NCAA of always not listening to the fans. That sentence isnt perfect I know, but heres the point. This afternoon, April 22nd, the news came that the mens NCAA Basketball Tournament is expanding. Not to 96 teams, but 68. Only adding 3 more into the mix every March is sure to appease many who have asked the question "Why ruin the best sporting event in the U-S?"
You cant tell me this decision was made without any nod to the fans. NCAA officials HAD to have heard the backlash, especially after it was made public that a 96-team format had been discussed and could become reality in a very short time.
68 most likely means 4 play-in games, maybe one for each region. Thats manageable. But how about those 3 extra teams that will get in now? Will the mid-majors be able to lay claim to those spots on a consistent basis? Or will underperforming big conference teams take the majority of them? Those are questions that cant be answered until next year, when the tournament makes this slight expansion.
Selfishly, the other bit of good news is that CBS will maintain the broadcast rights, outbidding ESPN. CBS does have a partner in Turner, and it will be interesting when 2016 rolls around and the Final Four isnt on CBS, but TBS. The new deal runs through 2024 and will cost CBS and Turner almost 11 billion dollars. Every game will be shown live on either CBS, TBS, TNT or truTV.
Now, as for next year, does this mean the BOK Center will host a play-in game? Or will Dayton get all 4?