By now, most of you have seen the highlights of the Liberty vs Lipscomb game to decide the Atlantic Sun Championship. The game provided us with the best/worst flop of all time. Historical flop aside, the game was one of the better games of the season. Here’s the thing though; both teams belong in the tournament. It’s rare that a small conference would get 2 teams in; almost unheard of.
Just hear me out and see if you can be swayed. My idea to expand the tournament will be covered in a bit, but here’s why I would like to see Lipscomb in. Too many times we see these smaller conferences have their regular season champion knocked out of the tournament with a loss in the conference tourney. Basketball fans are getting robbed of potentially good games because of this. In their place, a mid tier team from a power conference ends up getting in and, more often than not, getting knocked out in the first round.
Ask yourself this; who would you rather see in a first round match up? North Carolina vs the 8th best team in the Big Ten or UNC vs Lipscomb? The 7th best team in the SEC vs Duke or Lipscomb vs Duke? My guess is that most of you would rather see Lipscomb in these games. Next year, it will be a different team, but you get the gist. The middle of the pack teams in power conferences have already shown us what they have, and what they don’t have. This is situational redundancy. A change needs to be made when choosing teams for the tournament.
Now, here’s my plan to expand the tournament. Are you ready? Are you sitting down? 96 teams. There, I said it. Right now, you’re doing the math and thinking it can’t work because of said math. No fear, just stay with me.
Start the tournament on Tuesday, seeds 1 through 8 get a bye the first round. Seeds 9 through 24 play each other in what is now the play-in days. There are a couple obvious positives to this. First of all, the Lipscombs and Woffords of the world get in even if they lose in the conference tourneys. Secondly, when the 1 & 2 seeds play their first game, they’re more than likely not going up against a team with an 11-19 record that happened to get hot for a week. No one likes those games. It’s not good basketball.
I’m not saying I just fixed college basketball, but I totally just fixed college basketball. You’re welcome. Unfortunately, I’m a nobody. No one on the committee even knows I exist. Let the record show that I fixed it though. One day, someone will realize that this is a pretty good idea. Like Nikola Tesla before me, it’s not about the recognition. It’s all about improving the quality of life.
Selection Sunday is 6 days away. I’m pulling for a couple small conference at-large bids. I want Lipscomb; I NEED Lipscomb. Good luck on your brackets and your bets. And as always, gamble responsibly.