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Right after the brackets are announced and for the following 24 hours you will always hear about what teams should have gotten in and what teams shouldn't have. It is part of what makes the NCAA Tournament so great.
But is it necessary?
I have 2 completely separate methods that will fix much of the problem and still make it a great tournament every year.
- note - I know option 2 has been mentioned elsewhere but I mention it again here*
Option #1: Have a RPI cutoff for conference Champions
I like having the conference champions get automatic bids but do you really care about teams like Morehead State or Alabama State? No you don't and neither do I.
So allow all the conference champions an automatic bid IF their RPI is in the top 120. The teams outside the top 120 would then go to the NIT instead. They still get postseason basketball and they might actually win a game (although not likely).
This would eliminate 6 automatic bids this season. Radford (131), Cal State Northridge (127), Morgan State (130), Morehead State (142), Chattanooga (174), and Alabama State (179) would all be left out of the NCAA Tournament and instead would be in the NIT.
Then you take the other low seeds and just make them 16s and 15s to replace those teams. You would also eliminate the DUMBEST THING IN SPORTS....the play in game. There would be no reason for it.
By eliminating the play in game (and making the field 64 instead of 65) and the low ranked conference champions you could have included 5 more teams. Maybe St. Mary's, Creighton, Penn State, San Diego State, and Auburn.
Now wouldn't you rather see a tournament with those teams as the 13 and 14 seeds instead of the Morehead State's of the world??
Admit it....you would.
Option #2: Make the Bubble Teams the Play In teams
Right now you have a ridiculous play in game that is supposedly part of the tournament. Well let's expand on that a bit.
Instead of making two teams that WON THEIR CONFERENCES and received automatic bids to the tourney let's make 4 of these play in games and have games between the Bubble Teams to see who gets in.
You leave the 12 or 11 seeds open on selection Sunday and you play 4 games on Tuesday (or Monday) between the last 8 teams considered. This season it would probably look something like this:
Wisconsin vs San Diego State Minnesota vs Penn State Maryland vs St. Mary's Arizona vs Creighton
Play the games in Dayton or at another neutral site and the winners get into the field! This way the bubble teams get one last chance to prove who is worthy and it takes the guess work out of the hands of the selection committee.
There are always going to be complaints from teams just outside the tourney. Even if you use option 1 or 2 on here you are going to find teams like Auburn or South Carolina or New Mexico that will think they deserved the chance more.
But using those options would make the tournament more exciting AND in my opinion more complete!
What do you think about these options? Would you want to see either actually happen?