Tourney Talk

Lots of talk about potential seeding in the NCAAs for Pitt in the Post-Gazette.

Despite my penchant for posting Joe Lunardi's weekly Bracketology ratings, truth be told, it's nothing short of foolishness to speculate where Pitt might be seeded. Heck, with several tough games left, they're not even guaranteed to be in. It would take a freefall of epic proportions, but there have been deserving teams left out before.

And are we still basing Pitt's non-con on name value? Wofford is 18-8, Eastern Kentucky is 17-8, Wichita State is 20-6, Kent State is 18-7, and Robert Morris is 16-9. Yes, Pitt should beat those teams (even though Wichita State at a 'neutral/home' site was no gimme), but that is far from a cupcake non-con schedule. They also had the Texas game (which was a loss, of course). Wake up people.

Then of course there's been the talk of NCAA tournament expansion. Not surprisingly, coaches in the rugged Big East are in favor of it:
"If you're in the middle of the pack in our conference, you deserve to be in the tournament," Seton Hall coach Bobby Gonzalez said.
And this:
"I've been for expansion of the tournament for years," Boeheim told the Syracuse media earlier this season. "The NCAA Tournament has always been expanded when there's a need. It started out at eight teams and expanded to 12, 16 24, 32, 48 and 64.

"I mean, it's expanded seven or eight times. And we're in the longest period between expansions in history. The fact is, we have better teams. We have more good teams than ever before. And they should get a chance to play in the tournament."
And finally, this:
"I love it. I think its time has come," Villanova coach Jay Wright said. "As you add Division I teams (the number is currently 347), look at college football, close to 50% of the teams go to bowl games. There are so many good teams that don't go to the tournament."
I don't know. Consider me unsold. Yes, if you're the #9 team in the Big East, you might not be all that bad. But how long will mediocrity be served? To me, 64 teams is enough. Every 18-8 or 19-10 team doesn't need to get in. If you want to make the argument that more Big East teams need to get in, I can listen to that.

But by expanding the tourney to 96 teams, you'd be adding 32. The NIT coincidentally takes 32 teams that don't make the NCAAs. Let's take a look at some of those teams last year:

- Washington State (17-15)
- Northwestern (17-13)
- Georgetown (16-14)
- Virginia Tech (18-14)
- Bowling Green (19-13)
- Kentucky (20-13)
- Notre Dame (18-14)
- Nebraska (18-12)
- Jacksonville (18-13)
- Providence (19-13)

Are these really the types of teams that need to get into the tournament? A few are barely over .500. Seriously, we're not going to be able to sleep unless a 16-14 Georgetown team doesn't get in because they're in a great conference?

Whatever.

I won't have a big problem if they expand. I just don't think it's really necessary. If the tournament would expand, no team like this is going to realistically win eight or so games to win the title. At best, if you really want to expand, add eight more teams and give the top eight overall seeds (#1 and #2 seeds in each region) a bye.

And let's not forget, expanding will only open up more cries for more expansion. Can't you hear Dickie V now?

'To leave an 18-14 Iowa State team out is highway robbery, baby. I can't believe it. This wouldn't have happened if only we had 128 teams in.'

Of course money, which rules everything else, will be the prime factor. And eventually, the tournament will expand. But I can live with 64.

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