Syracuse Orange head coach Jim Boeheim isn’t the only one talking about expanding the NCAA MBB Tournament, but he might be the only one who has been saying it for decades.
“Well, I had that idea 30 years ago,” Boeheim said. “I’ve been knocked down every year I ever brought it up. I stopped bringing it up. Everybody thought I was an idiot. It took 30 years, but I guess I’m maybe right now, huh?”
It might be pre-season but Boeheim’s snark never takes a day off. The HOF coach added that now there are “150 good teams for only 68 spots” and while that’s probably another addition to our Heim-perbole file, the sentiment is correct. Yes, good teams are left out of the NCAA Tournament, but who are they seem to be the bigger question.
The money will dictate that the Tournament will expand in the near future, that’s inevitable. If it’s expanding it should increase opportunities for mid-major conferences and not just provide more spots for P6 (Big East fits for hoops) teams with .500 records. It does seem as though the ACC is only committed to holding the automatic bids for those leagues, which is probably the stance for every P5 league.
“My perspective and our perspective of the ACC, not interested in cutting back those AQs,” Phillips said, referring to the automatic qualifiers. “Those AQs matter. That’s part of the broad-based opportunities we have in Division I sports is the lower resource conferences and the higher resource conferences can all gain access.”
One interesting idea that circulated on Twitter had the Tournament moving to 80 teams in a way that would protect the auto-bids and allow for a focus on making sure teams with good regular seasons were included in the field. This would lead to more play-in games to get to the 64 we’re used to seeing.
48 teams go straight to the Field of 64™ (32 cars + top 16 at-larges – rewards champs & season-long excellence)
32 teams play one game the first wknd to make Field of 64™ (remaining at-larges + solo reg season champs of confs that won a Field of 64™ game in the last 5 years) https://t.co/qQDUQ0eCBS
—Ken Pomeroy (@kenpomeroy) October 13, 2022
In this example. St. Peter’s and Murray State winning games last year means their regular season conference champion would at least get a play-in opportunity if they lose their tournament. Honestly, this not only expands the NCAA Tournament field but it makes conference tournaments even more important and exciting…..unless you’re a P6 team sitting at 17-16.
Another change that we’ll probably see as a revenue generator is the addition of a NCAA Summer League. It’s an idea that Kentucky HC John Calipari and NCAA Basketball head Dan Gavitt are pushing
“Why not play games in Rupp Arena against good teams, maybe teams that won’t schedule you but now they’ll play you in a summer game and people get to see that, or against in-state teams, whatever?” Calipari said. “Have it televised on SEC Network. I’ve been pushing for five years now that we need to be doing stuff in the summer to bring light to college basketball, like spring football, except we’re playing games. And now it’s catching on, like OK, maybe we do need to do this….”
We’ve seen how much interest Boeheim’s Army provides in July and it’s not hard to imagine that watching Syracuse play games against Kentucky or Kansas would be even more popular. The games might not count for records but the opportunity to see new players in action in a slower sports season could be an idea worth trying-especially for content on the conference networks. It would likely mean more time for players with the coaching staff, which is better for development and many would get the chance to be seen and perhaps increase their NIL visibility.
Both ideas are worth monitoring as once big names across the sport are talking to the media about them, it means behind the scenes a push is happening.
Let us know what you think about these ideas in the comments