It wouldn’t be sports if there wasn’t never-ending debate about changing this or that aspect of the games and leagues we all love so much as fans. The world of college basketball may not garner the same type of intense scrutiny as NCAA football, but changes to college hoops are nevertheless debated and implemented every so often. The topic du jour seems to be the merits of possibly expanding the NCAA Tournament from 64 teams. Syracuse head coach and Basketball Hall of Famer Jim Boeheim is in the camp of expansion. He joined Colin Cowherd on ESPN Radio on Tuesday to explain why.
On if he thinks the NCAA should expand the field for The Big Dance:
“Absolutely they should. Now more than ever. See, yesterday Connecticut was out of the tournament, and they still may be out, but they’re a team that can win games in the Tournament. That’s why we need an expansion. And Colin, let me explain another thing to you – we don’t have the 65 best teams in the Tournament right now. We have automatic qualifiers, so there’s teams in there that aren’t the best teams in the country. If we expand it to 96, one weekend give 32 teams off, let 32 teams play the next 32 – the last 32 – you’ll come out after one weekend with the 64 best teams in the country and play the rest of the tournament.”
On why he thinks there’s very good, deserving teams being left out of the field each year:
“Right now we have 65 teams out of 358. It’s the least number of teams qualifying for tournament play of any sports – pro, college, whatever you want to name except college football because they don’t have that. But we need more teams in the Tournament. It makes sense. This year you’re going to see at the end of the year, teams like Connecticut, teams that are really good like North Carolina if they get winning two, three, four games here at the end. You’re going to see a lot of teams look alike, and you’re not going to be able to fairly say this team’s better, this team should be in. You’re not going to be able to do that.”
On why he thinks expanding to 96 teams makes the most sense:
“The reason you go to 96 is just to make it a whole weekend deal. Don’t throw in 8 teams and figure out how they play. Make it another weekend, get it all set up ahead of time, make everybody give themselves a chance to play in and you end up after one weekend with the 64 best teams. I’m not even lobbying for 96, I think it makes sense from a total package point of view. But I’d be happy with an 8 or 10 team expansion, I just don’t see how that equates. I don’t know how that tournament sets up. But I do we need an expansion, this is nothing new, and now more so than ever because we’re getting complete and total parity in college basketball. You look at our league, you look at the ACC, you look at the Big 12 and Big 10 – there’s eight or nine teams in each league that…you know the top two or three maybe there’s separation, but the next five, they’re tough.”
Listen here to Boeheim with Colin Cowherd on ESPN Radio (interview begins at 16:58 mark)