Eight Changes That Would Make The NCAA Tournament Even Better


March Madness is nearly perfect. That’s why people always freak out whenever the NCAA considers tweaking something with it.

The first Thursday and Friday of the NCAA Tournament is probably the best two-day stretch on the sports calender.

But as exciting as it is, the tournament could still use some changes.

Hold first and second round games on the highest seed's homecourt

No one really pays attention to college basketball during the regular season. And for good reason -- it doesn't matter all that much since it's basically just a seeding mechanism.

So to give the regular season more meaning, why not reward the best regular-season teams by giving them homecourt advantage?

The four highest seeds in each regional could host these games -- just like they do in college baseball's tournament.

The atmosphere would be off-the-charts.

No more play-in games

They stink because:

  1. They don't really feel like tournament games.
  2. No one watches them.
  3. They tire out whichever teams win for their next game.

Fine, if you want to keep play-in games, don't put automatic qualifiers in them

Play in games on Tuesday night in Dayton just aren't true March Madness games.

But if you really have to have them, make mediocre big-conference teams play in them. Don't short-change some random mid-major who may never quality for the NCAA Tournament ever again.

Hold the Final Four in an actual basketball arena

Holding Final Fours in football stadiums has been an absolute disaster.

It suppresses the atmosphere, and makes the games feel less energetic than regular-season contests.

In addition, the sight lines are so awkward for the players that they can't shoot well at all (see: last season's abysmal Butler-UConn title game).

No more conference tournaments for non-power conferences

It makes absolutely no sense for one-bid conferences to determine which team gets an automatic NCAA bid with a conference tournament.

For example Drexel went 16-2 in their league during the regular season. Yet they didn't make the NCAA's because they got upset in the conference tournament. What's a better indicator of a conference's best team: having the best record over a balanced 18-game schedule, or a one-and-done tournament?

You know when the first round of the NCAA Tournament starts?

Thursday at noon.

Calling these games 'second-round games' makes everyone want to punch each other. It needs to end.

Avoid first-round matchups between mid-major teams

Part of the fun of March Madness is watching mid-majors go up against power-conference teams and taking them down.

But sometimes the committee groups small conference teams together in the first round (this year, Wichita State plays VCU and New Mexico plays Long Beach State).

It may go against the selection committee's imperative to avoid taking conferences into account, but more Big-Small matchups would mean more intrigue.

Less bands coming in and out of commercial breaks?

As you can see, all of these changes and suggestions are pretty nit-picky.

So the point is that the tournament doesn't need any big changes. March Madness is universally beloved, and outside of a few minor tweaks, there is no need to change the formula.

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