It may not be Christmas, but it’s the most wonderful time of the year. As the college basketball regular season comes to a close, we are once again approaching the single greatest postseason tournament ever imagined.
Think about it. What other sport creates the mass hysteria in offices and classrooms across the country? How many of us have sat in the back of class with our laptop watching the first round games and pretending we are taking notes?
While the NCAA tournament might seem like the perfect way to decide a champion (and it is in many ways), there is still a major issue threatening the fairness of it: the conference
When it is all said and done, 68 teams will qualify for the NCAA’s marquee event. Of these 68, 33 of them will be represented by automatic qualifiers winning their respective conference tournaments, while the remaining 35 are selected for at-large bids. These at-large bids are selected from a team’s strength of schedule and conference success.
For example, the University of New Mexico, ranked 15th in the nation, is the top seed in this year’s Mountain West tournament.
However, if the Lobos do not win the tournament, technically they are not the “automatic bid”, yet they will still obtain an at-large bid.
Liberty University is the latest proof of this problem. The Flames entered the Big South conference tournament with an 11-20 record and were second to last in the twelve team conference in the regular season.
Liberty then proceeded to win four consecutive games and the conference tournament title to essentially steal a spot in the “Big Dance”.
Does the conference tournament need to be eliminated? Not necessarily. Does it need to be altered?
My proposal is this, all conferences condense their postseason tournaments to the top four to six teams following their regular season.
This way it still provides an incentive to be successful in the regular season, yet still provides opportunities
Still, even with the qualification issues, the NCAA tournament is still the purest form of finding a champion. This season is shaping up to one of the best postseasons in history, and I for one, can’t wait to watch for hours.