I remember watching last year's (2010) Coaches v. Cancer at MSG telecast and between games Jay Bilas editorialized on how there were too many D-I teams. I was rather shocked at the seething vitriol in his voice and the overall 'we'll take our ball and go home' tone. The thing is, Bilas was probably just voicing what many in the top tier believe: why share our loot with those who barely put in the resources.
The one thing I can say is that the NCAA tourney works precisely because of the egalitarian nature and 'Cinderella' moments. The overwhelming majority of these teams are just happy to compete, gain some exposure, and earn some crumbs in the process. And people like that. The have-nots have lots of alumni as well who in turn tune in and buy tickets and merchandise, etc. Be careful of what you wish for vis a vis a tourney of nothing but power conference teams. No one gets excited about a 7th place SEC team upsetting Duke or an 11th place Big East team going to the wire with Kansas regardless of seeding.
I disagree. The "cinderella" moments are a minor blip. It's the UPSETS that are the moments people get excited about. I remember a #10 seed Maryland team beating a #2 seeded UMass team when I was in school. And we've seen many other cases when a #12 seed Big Ten school upset a #5 ACC school. It's the numerical catalog in place in the tourney that drives the type of interest you mention. You are correct, when a #12 Murray St. beats a #5 Louisville, it's a big deal as it's a "small school" in the casual persons mind. But it's still the seeds that are key. Even better is that with no autobids, there won't be such a huge drop in quality between seeds. A #15 Missouri might be a 7 point underdog against a #2 Ohio St. Nothing wrong with making the early rounds better games. Might have years where you see an entire region have "upsets" in the 1st round as the point spreads would be closer than they are now. And the big boys get there money as they'll likely send more schools (are you going to pass on 17-11 ACC school like Pitt in favor of a 22-6 Duquesne?)
I think you are COMPLETELY off base, and if the powers that be think like you, they will slay the Golden Goose.
March Madness EXISTS because of the mix of small guys and big guys.
I'd rather see Norfolk or Lehigh in the tourney that a mediocre Big 5 team. And face it, if you can't break .500 in your conference, you are a mediocre team.
The early games are good all ready.
Jon, really? You think a 16-12 SEC or ACC school that is .500 in their conference is mediocre? And that they are a lesser quality than a MEAC, SWAC, ASun, etc champion? In almost any situation, the quality of the team that finishes .500 in conference in the SEC, ACC, Big Ten, etc, would likely dominate if they were in one of those conferences like the SWAC, ASun, etc. But simply because they are actually in a competitive conference, instead of lucking out by being in a weak conference, that it's a knock on them as a program?
The tournament is supposed to be about getting the best schools in. It's Darwinism. It's not supposed to be what it is now where everyone gets their chance to play. I'll give you this: it is very American, but today's social standards.
But what is alarming to me, is that people such as yourself make comments, but you are saying that the tournament to crown a championship, the playoffs for college basketball, are not about putting the most worthy schools in. Because if you felt the most worthy schools deserve to be in each year, then we'd be in agreement. Because in my mind it's real simple: get rid of the autobids and have the best schools in. Period. If it's Jackson St., Florida A&M, Binghamton, Kennesaw St., Houston baptist, etc, so be it. If they are one of the best 64 schools in the country they should be in. But there's no reason for them to be in the tournament, just because they are in a weak conference and happened to win a tournament against other weak schools in that conference.
And there are worse things than a .500 in conference ACC, SEC, Big Ten, etc school getting in, right? Like a .500 in conference Southland, Big Sky, ASun, MEAC, SWAC, etc. It happens. Even a bad program can 3-4 games against other bad programs.
Curious though: what is your stance on the Great West? They really could use the support of people like you in their quest to be included in the tourney. I'd buy a "UTPA All The Way" t-shirt today.