The NCAA has agreed to a 14 year, $11.8 billion dollar deal with CBS & Turner for an expanded basketball tournament, to start in 2011.
The NCAA seems to initially favor expanding from 65 to 68 teams, by adding 3 more play-in games. But all signs point to an eventual 96 team scenario before the end of the 14 year partnership.
More specifics will be coming out later, such as locations, schedules, etc. The games are expected to be broadcast on CBS, TNT, TBS and TruTV.
A move to 96 teams would be a bold move that will likely cause some mixed reactions. The NIT will likely be the casualty in this move. When you look at the expected new bids, the majority will certainly come from current “power” conferences. Sure, there will be a number of lower conferences who will see their total bids increase by 1 or 2, but conferences like the ACC and Big Ten will find nearly all of their members included. Looks like the new criteria for coaches in these conferences to keep their jobs will be making the Round of 32 or the Sweet 16, and not simply making the tournament.
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