Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The Play-in game

Call it what you want, I am not a fan of the play-in game. The NCAA can say all they want that it is just as big a part of the NCAA Tournament as everything else, but the truth is, no one really cares about this game outside of the fan bases of the two teams playing.

The problem I have with this game is it really takes away from the tournament experience of the two teams playing. This year Alabama State and Morehead State are squaring off for the right to play Louisville. The biggest problem I have with the play-in game, is these two teams have already earned that right to play Louisville or whichever No. 1 seed they get paired against.

They have done everything the NCAA asked them to do. They won their conference tournaments, just like Stephen F. Austin, Radford and East Tennessee State. They will all be playing on Thursday and Friday. I don't like the fact that every year two teams are punished because they are considered the two worst teams in the field.

I would rather the NCAA put both of those teams in the field as No. 16 seeds and have the play-in game between the two bubble teams. This year you could have Arizona and St. Mary's playing for the right to get into the tournament as a No. 12 seed. That is where all the debate is on selection Sunday anyway.

Instead of comparing RPI's, strength of schedule, last 12 games and whatever else the committee looks at, you just pair the two teams together and the winner moves on. Is that going to stop the arguing? No. There are still going to be teams that feel they were snubbed. But it will give two deserving teams a chance to play in the NCAA tournament and force two teams that may have been left out to play their way in as the name of the game suggests.

Plus, I think the ratings for that game will be a lot better than they will be tonight.

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