The year 2020 has brought up some weird, wacky and unprecedented moments, but the wildest one might have come on Wednesday morning. It happened when the ACC’s 15 college basketball coaches got together, rubbed their brains together and came up with the single goofiest proposal I’ve ever heard.
Yes. Every… single… one.
This proposal is real. And it’s not spectacular.
That’s right, the ACC coaches, in all their infinite wisdom, believe that in this most unprecedented of years, that we should have an unprecedented NCAA Tournament that includes 346 teams. Which along with “New Coke,” “ESPN the Phone” and the movie “Home Alone 3” might be one of the worst ideas in the history of mankind.
Look, I’m all for inclusion, but this idea is ridiculous and flat out awful. Here are 11 reasons why:
It devalues the regular season
Remember when Herm Edwards said “You play to win the game?” Yeah, that’s kind of the purpose of sports. And kind of the importance of the regular season. You play hard, do your best, and try to come out with a victory. And if you don’t, it may hurt you in the long-term. That one loss you suffer in mid-November could cost you an NCAA Tournament bid down the road. Meanwhile, that huge, road upset you picked up could get you into the NCAA Tournament even if the rest of your resume stinks.
Now, all that would be moot.
Even in a college basketball season where we have no idea what to expect (Bubbles? No fans?) if you let everyone in the NCAA Tournament, all you’re really doing is basically playing from November to March for seeding. No individual game or result matters.
So, let’s say you take a two, three, four game losing streak? Ehh, whatever, you’ll shake it off in March. Get hot and win 10-straight? Who cares, Chicago State and Grand Canyon get the same reward at the end of the regular season as you do.
The college basketball regular season is already a tough to sell the casual, non-die hard college basketball fan.
Now it will be next to impossible.
It would also eliminate all bubble talk
Up top I discussed how this proposal would eliminate the value of the college basketball regular season. But you know what it would also eliminate: Bubble talk!
And let’s be honest, when it’s mid-February, and you kind of already know the 6-8 teams that can win the national championship and where they’ll be seeded, bubble talk is really all we have. Without it, what will we argue about? And how will the fans of the eighth, ninth and 10th best teams in every power conference pass the time, other than constantly refreshing all the bracketology projections across college basketball?
But that’s not a world I want to live in.
Speaking of which…
Can you imagine what Joe Lunardi’s life would be like during the final few weeks of the season?
Sure, if we had a 346-team NCAA Tournament there would be no bubble talk.
But a 346-team NCAA Tournament would also mean… A 346 TEAM BRACKET!!!
AND THAT MIGHT ACTUALLY END JOE LUNARDI AS WE KNOW HIM.
I can already see it now.
It’s February 29th, and Saint Mary’s and Pepperdine just finished a game at 1:48 a.m. ET. Scott Van Pelt is on the Sportscenter desk, where he immediately throws to Joe Lunardi’s bracket bunker. Disheveled, with mounds of paper in front of him and a tie loosely hanging around his neck, Lunardi drearily looks into the camera and says:
“Thanks Scott, with tonight’s win by Pepperdine, I’ve officially moved the Waves up to the 64 seed line. Unfortunately, that also means that Hampton will fall to a 65 seed. But they could jump back up with a win this weekend over Wofford. If Wofford wins —”
Before Lunardi faints on a stack of papers.
As a country, we can’t do that to Joe Lunardi.
We just can’t.
We also wouldn’t get those great “first time in the NCAA Tournament” celebrations we see every March
Let’s all be real here: We’ve all that moment on the first Sunday afternoon in March, when some school you’ve never heard of wins its conference tournament, the fans rush the floor, and the announcer screams ‘And East Illinois Tech is headed to its first ever NCAA Tournament’ and things get a little dusty in your living room.
Honestly, it’s happened to all of us.
What’s that? It’s just me?
Well let’s move on.
Either way, not only will we not get those moments this year, we’ll… NEVER GET THEM AGAIN… since again, everyone is in the NCAA Tournament.
Seriously, is this really what we want?
We also won’t get those cool graphics on ESPN that update every time a new team is added to the field
You know those graphics? The ones that start when some school you’ve never heard of clinches the A-Sun title, then moves onto the Ohio Valley and gets progressively more and more full throughout the week as more automatic bids are clinched.
Yeah, well those graphics?
Gone for a year.
The Selection Show will take at least nine hours to complete
One of the great moments of the year is when the Big Ten Tournament ends, and Jim Nantz – who just came out of his golf fog to call basketball a day before – throws to Greg Gumbel and the crew in the CBS studios. They then do their song and dance, revealing each bracket, region by region until its complete.
That moment is a slice of Americana, right up there with apple pie and fireworks on 4th of July.
Yeah, well now that great moment will take roughly 11 hours to complete.
Crap, by the time we get our full bracket, the tournament will be ready to begin.
Opening round upsets just won’t have the same pizzazz
The reason we watch the NCAA Tournament is for those wild, early round upsets.
Wild, early round upsets that just won’t have that much meaning this year.
Sorry, but Cal State-Northridge beating Montana in the 64-48 seed matchup just isn’t going to feel the same as when Duke loses as a two-seed.
Again, I hate to rain on everyone’s parade, but you know I’m right.
The NCAA Tournament will go on forever
I know that half the bracket gets eliminated with each passing round, but with that many games, over that many days, I just can’t even fathom how long it would take.
Remember in the movie “BaseKetball” how the playoffs went on for like nine months?
Yeah, that’d be the 2021 NCAA Tournament.
We can’t support anything that’s Coach K’s idea
I mean come on. Are we really going to get behind a plan that Coach K supports so vehemently?
I didn’t think so.
Finally, it’s just dumb
As a writer, sometimes it takes me hours to find the exact right words to describe a situation. To take my artistic brush, and paint a picture which perfectly encapsulates the moment in time I’m explaining.
Then there are times where I can simply go back to my second grade, recess vocabulary to perfectly sum up a situation
And this is one of those times.
A 346-team NCAA Tournament is just dumb.
Nothing else needs to be said.
Let’s hope this thing doesn’t actually go into action.