Coach K Now Supports 96-Team NCAA Behemoth: 'That's What I Would Do'

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↵If the NCAA is serious about expanding the NCAA Tournament to a 96-team event, it will help them greatly to hear some people say they like the idea. Especially people with importance and influence. Like, say, Duke's Mike Krzyzewski? ↵

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↵What he said in a press conference Tuesday night would certainly seem strongly supportive. ↵

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↵⇥"The NCAA could opt out of its TV contract at the end of this season. If they do, or if they don't, it's probably time to take a look at everything. The NCAA owns two properties — the NCAA Tournament and the NIT. What I propose, is that you combine the two properties and come up with a field of 96. You would have 64 teams play. Thirty-two teams get byes, and then it would be the same tournament, but with 96 teams.⇥ ↵⇥

↵⇥"I don't think we put enough value on the regular season. By expanding to that — and not having the NIT — you reward everybody who wins the regular season. So it puts value on the regular season. I think it would upgrade everything. You still have your conference tournaments, and if you win that, you're in. If the Patriot League has two teams, so be it — there's two teams from the Patriot League in the Tournament. I think, if we’re going to do anything, that’s what I’d do. I wouldn't marginalize the NCAA Tournament. Combine it, reward the regular season. That's what I would do."⇥ ↵⇥

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↵There is good and bad in this.  ↵

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↵The cynic in me notes that a coach that has seen recent regular-season success evaporate in March would, of course, be in favor of valuing the regular season more. And the logistics of two consecutive rounds with 32 games would be nightmarish.  ↵

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↵But Coach K isn't the one who has to figure all of those protocols out: He's just an endorser of this movement, and someone whose rapid change of heart (he told ESPN's Andy Katz "I don't think they should expand" in October) may lend an expansion push some momentum. ↵

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↵And Missouri Valley coaches have to be heartened by Krzyzewski standing up for the little guy: ↵

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↵⇥“A lot of the people say, Well, what are we doing the regular season for?” he said. “We’re doing it to get a bid. Then matchups get a lot bigger. February games are huge. You’re in a league, and on February 25, it’s a Wednesday night, and in the Missouri Valley, some team wins and they’re in the NCAA Tournament. It’s not, like, Now are you on the bubble? No. You’re in, man! It might be a decent idea to think about.” ↵
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↵Suddenly, adding the fifth-place team from the MVC doesn't sound so bad! I might pick them to reach the Super Sixty-Four!  ↵

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↵(HT: Duke Chronicle Sports Blog.) ↵

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This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.

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