The NCAA tournament is loved by everybody (except PSU and Northwestern fans)...even small schools like Fairleigh Dickinson, who only go every now and again love it. Heck, my Mom likes it (kinda) and she knows nothing about college basketball.
At the same time, not many like the BCS. The average Joe thinks the system's flawed. College football fan bases from Auburn to Boise to Salt Lake have seen the error in the formula -- it's not broken...it just never worked. But, the folks at EsPN and Fox love it...and the NCAA offices in Indy simply will not look this gift horse in the mouth and urinate all over Title IX...so what to do???
The solution is simple: Ruin the NCAA basketball tournament.
If you're from Indiana, you know about how awesome it can be to be politically-correct and include as many teams as possible in the end-of-the-year tournament. If you're not from Indiana, here's what happened: Class basketball didn't exist in the state until 1998. Prior to that, the energy in the Sectionals was incredible. And honestly, a Sectional championship was the equivalent of one of the four state championships in the current day.
But, Mommies and school principals wanted more of their babies to have a chance at a state championship trophy, so we all lost. Epic battles between Robinson and Henderson to a sold-out Hoosier Dome have been replaced with no-names playing to a one-third full Conseco Fieldhouse. Sure, the 4A title usually includes names like Oden, Gordon, Moore and others, but it's just not the same.
The last tournament expansion has drawn rave reviews from some(people who live in Dayton)...but most people didn't see the need. To me, the solution is simple- less is more. If some feel the incessant need to expand the tourney, it doesn't need to be a doubling of the field. Just make it an event- one play-in game per region. I'd go one step further and make it in just one or two locations to keep the arenas full.
The only thing that really need to be changed is the multi-purpose facilities need not to be used for anything other than the Final Four. Heck, even then, they're awful for watching basketball. But having regionals in such venues makes it unpleasant for the fans who attend and makes the game look lousy as many games are played to throngs of empty seats.
You'll see a theme in my writing...Contraction is the answer, not expansion. From the NFL talking of ruining a good thing by broadening the season to the NBA's talk of more teams outside of US borders...it's just not needed. Always leave them wanting more.
The NCAA shouldn't flood the market with tickets for single games, but make it a tougher ticket and raise the prices...make it noisier, more of a madhouse...it makes the end product better. Make it special, not cheap.
In the same way, the tournament shouldn't be viewed as something for everyone...it's an event for the best teams in the nation; something to aspire to. It's OK if the third-best team in the Horizon League and much of the bottom half of the major cons don't get invited.
I know, I know (Penn State fans), every year someone is left out of the tournament...but as IU basketball/Notre Dame football fans always say, there's always next year, right?