68 Instead of 96? Celebration Time!!!!
I never thought I’d trot out this picture in relation to anything regarding the NCAA, but lo and behold, thanks to their brilliant decision concerning the NCAA Tournament, here it is. What’s more, I completely agree with the sentiment the pooch is offering. Again, this post and all the accolades I’m throwing is in regards to the NCAA and their decision NOT to expand the Big Dance to 96 teams.
I know, I know. There’s still a great deal the committee could address — one and done rule being number one — but the fact they ignored the temptation and actually expanded in a logical fashion — that is, four play-in games, giving us 68 teams instead of the oft-mentioned 96 practically makes today a red-letter date. At least in my book.
Sure, there are other details; stuff like the NCAA receiving $10.8 billion on the new television contract and the increase of channels showing the games — Ted Turner’s now involved — but to me, and probably just about everyone who loves, loves, loves the NCAA Tournament, the fact the NCAA didn’t change it to an ugly 96-team, excitement-reducing, all-schools-included mess is reason to celebrate.
There will also be some changes to how the games will be broadcast, something that comes with the territory of including cable TV in the new deal:
Through 2015, CBS will cover the regional finals, the Final Four and the championship game. But starting in 2016, CBS and Turner will split the regional finals and the Final Four, and the national championship game will alternate annually between CBS and TBS.
While I’m not necessarily high on the idea of a championship game being shown on a basic cable channel, we still have about six years before that interferes. Until then, join me in the celebration of “Thank God for No 96,” while celebrating the newfound awesomeness of the NCAA.
I may be jumping the gun with all my declarations of “NCAA = Awesome” thanks to a post by the Sporting Blog, which pointed me to this tweet. While I understand the hesitation to embrace any good news from the NCAA, the following quote does feed into my excitement:
…passed a recommendation to the Division I Board of Directors to increase tournament field size to 68 teams beginning with the 2011 Championship.
Could the NCAA change that and increase the total to 96? Absolutely, but it won’t be happening next season, and that’s reason enough for me to celebrate.