Sunday, March 15, 2009

Outside the Aviary: "The Plan"

Listening to the blaring anger on the behalf of St. Mary's (whom I do sympathize with a tiny bit) on ESPN, I have a slight solution to our problem, here. The teams that wont play mid-majors at their school and the mid-majors that can't get neutral site games that are good enough to get in the big dance: a mid-season tournament that resembles an all-star game for college basketball teams.

Instead of forty different Christmas tourneys in Maui and etc. that usually prove next to nothing, let's consolidate all of them to a mid-season NIT. Schools can reject the invitation just like they can an invite to the NCAA tournament and the NIT postseason. If you don't like the idea of sixteen teams getting together in mid-season, don't go. BUT, if you are available and you think you could benefit your team at an away site against other good teams, then do it.

Sixteen teams, three days, equal parts mid-majors and power conferences. It can even be put together at the beginning of the season if the scheduling is too hard. Let's say the tournament goes after borderline teams in the power conferences: Arizona, Clemson, Auburn, etc. You know who the near-good teams in these conferences. Then you take the teams that struggle to get good games (ones that don't have ACC or PAC-10 help like a Davidson, Gonzaga and the like)-- St. Mary's, Utah State, Siena. This makes the Christmas holiday tremendous on a sports level-- NBA Christmas day, football in full swing, and a college basketball tourney in-season that has major implications for teams in March.

I'm sure there's problems with this, and it is an on-the-fly idea that won't work as far as scheduling. Also, arguing about what teams should get in is always fun. It's just that if the NCAA is really going to care about student-athletes, they have to give the smaller schools a chance to improve their out-of-conference schedules. That way, when they win or lose, at least they know they got a real shot. It's not so heartbreaking to get left off the list if you are provided with the means to get there.

Predictions to come, people.

1 comment:

Phony Gwynn said...

The Mountain West wuz ROBBED.

I think Christmas is too early, though. There's too many goddamn tournaments right at the start of the year - more and more teams have small breaks in their conference skeds (think Davidson playing Duke after Duke started ACC play), so why not do this in late Jan., the week between the conference championships and the Super Bowl? How many real sports fans would rather watch the Pro Bowl over St. Mary's and Penn State or San Diego St. and Arizona?