2011 NCAA Tournament To Expand To 96 Teams

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You thought filling out your bracket this year was tough.  Just wait til next year (if money talks and it usually does).  Expansion of the NCAA Tournament from the current 64 teams to 96 teams has widely been debated.  Many coaches feel that expansion would be better for the sport and increase TV revenue for the schools who participate.  But when does a “good thing” become “not a good thing”.  How would all of this work logistically?  The idea is to have the Top 32 teams get a first round bye.  The so called “first round” would be 64 teams and 32 games.  The winners of those first round games would then get seeded and matched up against the Top 32 teams that were given first round byes.  The NCAA Tournament would proceed like normal from there until it crowned a champion.    Big Ten commissioner and former chairman of the NCAA basketball committee, Jim Delaney, called the move to 96 teams “probable”.  Which coming from this guys lips means “likely”.  He did, however, voice concerns over the dilution of the conference tournaments which precede the NCAA tournament.

“I’m not looking to see the basketball season made less relevant because we do an expansion without knowing a lot about this,” he told The Sporting News in February.

The NCAA can opt-out of their CBS Television contract after this season.  Which would open the door for other stations to bid on the new tournament.  Could “One Shining Moment” be just a memory after this season?  Say it ain’t so!  We’ll find out more details on April 21st when the NCAA board meets.  College presidents will ultimately decide the direction they want to head.  Can you imagine the bidding war for the NCAA Tournament programming?  BILLIONS.

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