Will NCAA Tournament expand? Don’t hold your breath

At the NCAA Convention in San Antonio last week, the transition committee suggested that some sports should consider expanding their final tournaments, with many turning their thoughts to the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament. Could we see the Big Dance get even bigger?

Don’t hold your breath.

The recommendation approved by the NCAA Board of Directors was for any sport with 200 or more participating schools to consider expanding their fields.

That may or may not be the case in other sports. In men’s and women’s basketball, there is zero chance of doing this beyond 72 – and it can be achieved.

The women added just four last season to reach 68, the same as the men. But according to the knowledge, there is no desire or movement to change the field. Remember, the winning men’s tournament is locked into a television deal with CBS/Turner until 2032. If teams are added there is an obligation to open the contract. Also, there are real concerns about devaluing the regular season, and frankly, there aren’t many more valuable teams.

Adding four to reach 72 can be justified. But that’s a maximum, and would only mean adding two more games in Dayton or another First Four location. Another thing that may seem trivial but is critical: adding a maximum of four more can keep the band on one sheet of paper. It is really very important. One of the big reasons the NCAA Tournament has become so popular is that it can be printed on a single sheet of paper, making it easy to replicate and pass around among friends, family and workplaces.

Also Read :  Cristiano Ronaldo to Al Nassr transfer: Saudi club confident of post-World Cup deal; off-field powers offered

This fact should not be taken lightly.

So, don’t worry everyone. The NCAA tournament is unchanged. At most, it will only be slightly modified. And if it does happen, I can’t see it happening anytime soon. Could it happen before the new TV contract in 2033? Possibly. But don’t hold your breath.

Outstanding pictures

Warren’s departure is no surprise: The departure of Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren for the Chicago Bears was sudden, but not shocking. He is an NFL player from the Minnesota Vikings. So the move to the Bears makes sense, especially if he has future hopes of one day competing to replace Roger Goodell as NFL Commissioner. So what now? Well, the Big Ten television deal is done. The expansion with UCLA and USC is set for 2024 and is likely to be for the foreseeable future. Of course, figuring out how to integrate two LA schools won’t be easy, but it’s all doable.

The obvious choice to replace Warren is ACC commissioner Jim Phillips, the former AD at Northwestern who many expected to take the job before Warren was hired. Will Phillips return to Chicago? Maybe. It should be asked first, of course. Kerry Kenny, who has done an outstanding job coordinating men’s basketball in the Big Ten and becoming the point person for communications/television networks, will also make sense. I’m pretty sure the Big Ten leaders will look for someone with strong college/Big Ten ties this time after going outside of the conference to hire Warren.

Also Read :  Liverpool an A for Gakpo move

Texas Candidate?: Didn’t anyone mention the potential candidates to replace Chris Beard in Texas last week? TCU’s Jamie Dixon. The AD at Texas is Chris Del Conte, who hired Dixon at his alma mater TCU when he took the job in Fort Worth. The Horned Frogs are having another solid season and are competing in the Big 12 with Texas to finish in fourth with Kansas, Iowa State, Kansas State and Baylor. I still think interim coach Rodney Terry has a strong chance to do the job.

[Who are top candidates to replace Chris Beard?]

Understanding Sun Devils: Arizona State is having one of the strangest seasons of a team that can compete for a top, Power 6 title. The Sun Devils swept the Oregon schools on the road, and are 6-1 in the conference, 15-3 overall under Bobby Hurley. The losses were at Texas Southern in the Pac-12/SWAC Legacy series, a blowout at San Francisco, and a nine-point loss at home to Arizona. Still, the Devils host UCLA and USC this week with a chance to finish the week in first place in the Pac-12. I don’t think anyone saw that coming in the preseason, let alone a few weeks ago.

Also Read :  Rosenthal: What I’m hearing about MLB free agency with Justin Verlander, Anthony Rizzo and more

Much improved?: Kansas State’s Markquis Nowell should be in the running for the most improved player in the country. Nowell, who played three seasons at Little Rock before transferring last season to play for Bruce Weber at Kansas State, was an all-Big 12 defensive player last season. He should be in the top three for the best this season, along with Kansas’ Jalen Wilson and TCU’s Mike Miles Jr. He scored 36 in a win over Texas and 32 in a win over Baylor.

A look at the link: My initial prediction for the top seeds by region would be: Houston at Las Vegas, Kansas at Kansas City, Purdue at Louisville and Alabama at New York. The blue bloods are struggling, but eventually the NCAA Tournament field will include North Carolina, Duke, Indiana, and, yes, Kentucky. The latter two had big wins last weekend with Indiana beating Wisconsin and Kentucky beating Tennessee on the road.

Andy Katz is a college basketball writer, analyst and host. It can be seen on the Big Ten Network, as well as March Madness NCAA.com, and he hosts the podcast “March Madness 365.” Katz worked at ESPN for nearly two decades and, before that, worked in newspapers for nine years.

Read more:

Top stories from FOX Sports:

Get more from College Basketball Follow your favorites to get information on games, news and more


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Related Articles

Back to top button