College basketball's March Madness started Tuesday with the First Four. These games have 8 teams lining up to play against a top-ranked opponent in what is now the 2nd round. Well, is it just me or are these extra games added serving no purpose? Sure, they have the capability to be exciting, but they also have the capability to be as painful as getting a tooth pulled with no novacane.
Of the sixty teams selected for the field of sixty-eight, eight of these teams were chosen to play against each other in this bonus round. In my estimation, when a tournament has to make more room for you, you didn't belong anyway. And my comments aren't directed to the mid-major and small conference teams that won their conference. I think its highly unfair that they have to play in this game. In essence, they are getting robbed of their NCAA tournament experience because this "first round" game is played in front of a small crowd and if these small or mid-major teams lose, then they are not even able to get the experience of being on the big stage with the so-called big dogs of basketball. Let's be honest, you never hear the cheerleaders cheering during an NCAA tournament game because its too loud and the atmosphere is that crazy. In these games, you hear the cheerleaders cheering all game because of the lack of fans.
The power conference teams should be ashamed of themselves for being in this game. Like I've always said, if you didn't get it done during the season, then how did you get in the tournament? I simply don't understand the reasoning behind the First Four except for the money. I guess money is the ruling power behind common sense these days. I'm hearing some rumblings again that this step to expand the field may not be the last. The NCAA is talking about expanding the field to ninety-six teams. Yes, I did say ninety-six teams.
There are two problems with 96 teams. The product would be so watered down that the teams that finish last in power conferences would have a shot to make the tournament, making the regular season worthless. The tournament is supposed to be about rewarding excellence, not mediocrity or downright terrible play. Another issue would be the point of players missing a ton of class. The point of college is for kids to be student-athletes, or so says the NCAA, but this move would take away class time for court time and would portray the NCAA as a money-hungry organization, which most people already think they are. If you like the extended basketball action in the First Four, then have fun enjoying it, but the First Four could be the beginning of the end of March Madness as we know it.