Blog Entry

Automatic Bids Keep or Throw

Posted on: March 23, 2009 2:36 am

 There has been some heated conversation going into this year's NCAA tourney about whether the field should include Automatic bids for conference champions, or just the 65 best teams.  There are intriguing arguments on both sides of this issue.  Teams like Davidson and George Mason might not get a sniff of the tourney without auto bids.  It is rather unlikely that any school at that level will ever win the tourney, however.

Here's What I Think:  It would have been conceivable that Indiana could have won four games and won the Big(11)Ten's automatic tourney bid.  Under no circumstances can something like that be allowed.  I believe there should be automatic bids but that the conference regular season champion only has to play in the final.  Eliminate the temptation to coast or assume.  Just because you won the Southland Conference regular season championship does not mean you can get into the tourney if you lose in the conference tourney.

I do believe the National Championship needs to be based on more that getting hot for three weeks.  I am not convinced ANY team should be allowed in if they didn't win more than 50% of their regular season games.  Finally, I don't think adding more teams is the answer either.  This time of year is great just as it stands.  There may be a few small tweaks available but no major restructuring is needed.



Category: NCAAB

Since: Jan 17, 2008
Posted on: March 23, 2009 11:39 am

Automatic Bids Keep or Throw

Conference tournaments mean $$$, so unless there's something that offsets that, I think the conference tournaments are here to stay. I do like the auto bids, although sometimes I think it should go to the regular season champ. 

It's not really a "65-team" tournament, it's really a "Top 40 plus auto bids" (taking 34 at-large to 40, since most of the big 6 regular-season champions would be in regardless). So you're still getting at least the strongest 40 teams during most years. I think if people looked at that way instead of "best 65" they'd have less problem with auto bids.

You could avoid having a team like this year's Indiana winning a bid if conferences allowed in only their top two-thirds -- or any number of tweaks (like advancing the regular-season champion to the final, as you suggested).

One detail: George Mason got an auto bid the year it went to the Final Four - although that was used just for example, and you're correct. It's pretty rare for those teams to get an at-large.

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