NCAA's 68-Team Plans Explained, But No Answers Imminent

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↵For the longest time, it seemed like the NCAA tournament selection committee meetings in Chicago would yield us some sort of clarity on how a 68-team NCAA Tournament would work, but that isn't the case now, according to ESPN. Instead, the hope is that everyone will get an answer next month. ↵

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↵Andy Katz goes on to lay out the options the committee is considering in the article linked above. There's the one we're all most familiar with: simple seeding that goes Nos. 1-17 in each region with the 16 and 17 vying to face the No. 1. It's the most straightforward one of the bunch (and the one I've been advocating for simplicity's sake for some time now). ↵

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↵But Katz also finally explains away some of the confusion about the scenario in which the final at-large teams would face off: ↵

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↵⇥2. Take the last at-large teams selected for the tournament in the seed lines where they were seeded by the committee and have them play for those seed lines. You could have two teams playing for the 10th seed, two for the 11th seed, two for the 12th seed and two for the 13th seed. The winners, like the scenario above, would get the unit share. The corresponding seed such as 7 for the 10, six for the 11, five for the 12 and four for the 13, would know on Selection Sunday the two possible opponents it would play. ↵
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↵It would seem easier to just take these teams and throw them on one seed line. (For example, say all the play-in winners are No. 11 seeds.) I'm not sure what's gained by complicating it across four seed lines. The upshot to this scenario is that we'd have games that are more attractive on TV, although I think that interest in Tuesday night games between middle-of-the-pack high-majors might be slightly overstated by some. ↵

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↵Katz also details a third, hair-brained idea that is evidently being tossed around that is a combination of the previous two options. One where two play-in games would feature 16/17s and two others would feature the Nos. 10-13 seeds from a region. This would easily be the worst of the three options, if only for its cowardice and lack of conviction. Either commit to screwing the little guy or commit to trying to create a compelling product for the Tuesday before the full start of the tournament. This third option is fence-riding at its worst. ↵

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↵Still also to be decided: If they do go with the at-large play-ins, does it take the steam out of Selection Sunday, knowing that we will have four important games with undecided opponents? How will the games be handled: one site or at the venue they would play the next game? Whatever the case, we're clearly more than a few steps away from having any sort of concrete answers. ↵

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

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