With the Big East Championship underway, much is already being made of how the tournament will change next year when TCU becomes the conference’s 17th team.One popular suggestion is for the tournament to stop including every team in the conference, and go back to a more concise 12-team format with just four byes.
That would be a simple solution, and it would shorten a tournament that is notorious for wearing down potential NCAA Tournament title contenders.
However, it would take away from a week that is among the most exciting in sports. The Big East Tournament is unparalleled in terms of quality (full disclosure, I’m a Syracuse alum) and thus we see upsets of top Top 25 teams by double digit Big East seeds on a regular basis. Yesterday Villanova was knocked off by the 15th-seeded South Florida, which went just 3-5 in regular season conference play. Then, today UConn, the No. 9 seed in the Big East but still ranked No. 19 in the country, upended Georgetown, albeit without the Hoyas’ star point guard.
The week is rife with excitement and is often more entertaining than the NCAA Tournament itself. To alter it would be a monumental error, at least until the Big East loses some of its luster. Right now, we seem to hear ‘that the Big East is better than ever’ on an annual basis, and until that isn’t the case, the tournament should be left as is.
The 16-team tournament should go unchanged, and only the No. 17 seed should be left out. Sorry TCU, but you always have football.
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