Monday, March 9, 2015

What If The Conference Tournament Champion Earned The Only Bid?

Over 40 years ago, an epic ACC tournament helped change
the NCAA tournament.  What if the rules went back
to include just one team per league?

It will never happen ... but a long time ago it did.  It is an interesting question and it is actually a fair way to do things.  So here is the question:

What if the champion of each conference tournament earned the lone bid?

Up until 1975, only one team could represent each conference in the NCAA tournament.  For a variety of reasons it was changed and the tournament has been pretty darn good because of it.  But what if it magically went back to just one team per conference?

Well, there are 32 conferences so the tournament would easily be 32 teams.  We could cut down the number of venues hosting games as we could have four sites hosting first round games (which are the "round of 32 games" now) where games are played on consecutive days at those sites.  Then we'd move to the Sweet 16 and Elite 8 rounds the next weekend and then the Final Four per usual.

There would be no bubble.  No argument about who gets in.  The lone argument would be about seeding since the bracket would still be constructed.

Think how awesome these conference tournaments would get?  We watch these smaller conferences battle as they know the champ is the only team that gets to make the tournament.  Imagine if the bigger conferences did the same.  Think how big the ACC, Big 12, Big Ten and Pac-12 tournaments would be.  Imagine the SEC tournament where one of those teams could knock off Kentucky and end their title hopes.  Again, that's how it used to be.

Think about the ACC tournament, which has two projected No. 1 seeds competing.  That means only Duke or Virginia would get into the NCAAs ... not both.  It would also mean ranked teams like Louisville, Notre Dame and North Carolina would miss out.  Imagine the Big Ten tournament, which is projected to get 7 or 8 teams in the tournament.

The emotions.  It would be quite a week, indeed.

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