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  1. NCAA March Madness will be here before you know it. Soon the ‘Committee’ will be sitting in a room deciding whether or not your team gets into the ‘Big Dance’. After sitting in a room for hours, with no communications with the outside. They emerge and say: ‘These are the teams we have decided that deserve to be in the tournament.’ OK, maybe that isn’t exactly how it is done. But you get the idea. Individuals in a room decide who goes to the college basketball playoffs. And yes, I said playoffs. Because that is what they are in the end, playoffs.

    In professional sports, I don’t know of any playoffs where participants are decided in a back room. The decision of who goes to the playoffs is decided on the court. Shouldn’t the participants of the NCAA Basketball Tournament be decided the same way.

    I proposing the following changes to how the participants are decided:

    1. A conference power ranking is used to determine which conferences will get more teams into the tournament. The power ranking only considers games before the conference tournaments. Each position in the ranking has a set number of teams that make it into the tournament. So you already know which teams have been selected to get into the tournament. Some people may think that the last team in from the a particular conference did not do well enough during the season. But I say they are deserving because they did what it takes to get into the tournament. There is one little twist to this process.
    2. If a conference has more than one participant, then the last team in from the conference can be replaced. To keep conference tournaments somewhat relevant to the process. The last team in can be replaced by a team that did not finish high enough in the conference standings during the season. But only if the team not selected, wins the conference tournament. For those conferences that only have one participant, their participant has already been decided. If a team finishes first in the season, they automatically go to the tournament. If another team wins the conference tournament, then perhaps they automatically qualify for the NIT tournament. That decision can be made by the NIT selection committee.

    So what do the other qualified teams, in a multi-participant conference, have to play for in the conference tournament? They play for seeding in the NCAA tournament. The committee does not decide what teams get into the tournament. But they do decide where they are seeded in the tournament. If a team does poorly at the conference tournament, the committee may seed them lower.

    There are thirty-two conferences. Thirty-two first-place teams automatically qualify for the tournament. The other teams are invited based on Conference Power Rankings. The number of teams from a conference getting into the tournament is set by their position in the Conference Power Rankings. So a ten team conference with a better Conference Power Rankings than a sixteen team conference, will get as many teams into the tournament as the sixteen team conference. The number of teams participating should not be decided by the size of the conference. It should be decided by a set number of participants based on the Conference Power Rankings. I recommend that the ‘at-large’ bids get spread out among the conferences in the top ten. To eliminate the possibility of only five conferences ending up with all of the at large bids. I am sure that the ‘powers-that-be’ can come up with the number of teams for each position in the Conference Power Rankings.

    I believe these changes will bring about more people paying attention to the seasonal games. Because they will be more relevant. Conference Power Rankings are basically decided once you get into conference play. So you know the number of teams that get in from a particular conference. A television audience will pay closer attention to a seasonal game that decides if a team gets in or not. And the major Conference Tournaments still will be important. In addition, you don’t have to hear the media complaining about how this team deserved to get in over that team. It is all decided on the court.