Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The Field of 32, 64, 65......96? (How the NCAA Tournament can reinvent themselves without ruining the Madness.)

I have a way to fix the NCAA Tournament without having to expand to 96.
#1 Seeds
Illinois (19-14, 10-8)
Virginia Tech (23-8, 10-6)
Mississippi State (23-11, 9-7)
Arizona State (22-10, 12-6)

#2 Seeds
Cincinnati (18-15, 7-11)
Rhode Island (23-9, 9-7)
Mississippi (21-10, 9-7)
University of Alabama-Birmingham (23-8, 11-5)

#3 Seeds
Dayton (20-12, 8-8)
Memphis (23-9, 13-3)
Wichita State (25-9, 12-6)
South Florida (20-12, 9-9)

#4 Seeds
Kent State (23-9, 13-3)*
UConn (17-15, 7-11)
Seton Hall (19-12, 9-9)
North Carolina (16-16, 5-11)

#5 Seeds
Tulsa (23-11, 10-6)
Northeastern (20-12, 14-4)
Texas Tech (17-15, 4-12)
William & Mary (22-10, 12-6)

#6 Seeds
Illinois State (22-10, 11-7)
Nevada (20-12, 11-5)
St. John's (17-15, 6-12)
North Carolina State (19-15, 5-11)

#7 Seeds
Troy (20-12, 13-5)*
Northwestern (20-13, 7-11)
Weber State (20-10, 13-3)*
Coastal Carolina (28-6, 15-3)*

#8 Seeds
Stony Brook (22-9, 13-3)*
Quinnipac (23-9, 15-3)*
Jackson State (19-12, 17-1)*
Jacksonville (19-12, 14-6)

*won conference regular season title

The above 32 teams are the field that makes up the N.I.T. (National Invitational Tournament). What is the N.I.T you ask; well it is a tournament that has been in existence longer (by 1 year, but older is older; just ask any older sibling) than the NCAA Tournament. They pick conference champions that didn't get a bid into the NCAAs. They pick above .500 teams that got either "snubbed" by the committee. Or teams that just were not good enough to qualify for the NCAAs.

Now that you have a quick synopsis of what the N.I.T is I will tell you why it is important that the NCAA Tournament not expand to 96 teams like they are talking about.

Before I go into that though I want you to look over those 32 teams above. Look over all of those teams and ask yourself this question:

"Would anyone, other than maybe 4 of those teams, win more than 1 game in the NCAA tournament?"

The answer to that question folks is a resounding NO!

You think Arizona State could have more than 1 game in the NCAAs? They couldn't even put away Jacksonville. AT HOME! Not a neutral site court, but AT...H--O--M--E! They couldn't run away from the 2nd place team in the Atlantic Sun. NOT the Atlantic 10 or even the Atlantic Coast Conference. THE ATLANTIC SUN CONFERENCE.

You think North Carolina could have mustered up something and won a game or 2 in the NCAAs? They had to come back to beat..get ready folks..William & Mary. They aren't even on the road (even with a 16-16 record and 5-11 in division apparently they are a #4 seed and William & Mary who is 21-10 and 12-5 in division is the #5 seed). They had to dig deep and win a close one AT home versus William & Mary.

UConn had to hold on against...Northeastern. No I didn't say Northwestern (they play on the 2nd night of the opening round of the N.I.T versus (2)Rhode Island) I said Northeastern. At least UConn had a winning record (17-15).

North Carolina State and South Florida played in a sham of a tournament game. The 11th place team (out of 12) in the ACC beats the 9th place team (out of 16) out of the Big East. Does that sound right to you?

Texas Tech (who doesn't deserve to be in any postseason tournament. 9th out of 12 in the Big 12 and ONLY 4 conference wins.) finally unmasks Seton Hall for what they were: a mediocre team and not a bubble team.

The 2 teams that made statements on day 1 of the N.I.T. opening round? Mississippi State and U.A.B. You know why? They are NCAA capable teams. They are possible Sweet 16 teams waiting to happen. On Day 2 of the opening round you are going to have a lot of unmasking games taking place. Look for Weber State to either beat Cincinnati going away or lose on some sort of Cincinnati buzzer beater lucky play. Look for Illinois State to beat Dayton. Then there are the 4 teams that need to show the nation that they were NCAA worthy. Rhode Island needs to drub Northwestern. Virginia Tech needs to blow away Quinnipac. Mississippi is going to kick Troy all over their gym. Illinois is going to send Stony Brook away babbling.

Then there is Tulsa v. Kent State. I will get back to this match-up later on. Just remember the match-up.

Tomorrow we are going to realize that Illinois, Mississippi, Mississippi State, U.A.B., Tulsa and Kent State were possibly NCAA worthy.

Alright if you are still with me congrats we are getting to meat.

I have a way to fix the NCAA without expanding the field to 96. It is a bit radical of an idea but it will definitely increase the TV ratings and there will be less debate about who is in and who deserved to be in.

So the NCAA wants to expand their tournament to a rumored 96 teams and then give the top 32 seeds a bye. They say it will be better with 96 teams. More games the better. More games, more upsets. We already have a "play-in" game for one of the 16 seeds. It is a fun idea but in reality who cares. No one picks that game in their tournament pools. CBS doesn't show that game (it is on ESPN). That team ends up getting creamed by the 1 seed EVERY time. If the NCAA expands to 96 the NCAA Tournament Pool Era may have seen it's best days behind it (and who know maybe that is also in the minds of the NCAA). We are all of the sudden going to see teams like North Carolina (16-16, 5-11) and UConn (17-15, 7-11) and St. John's (13th place out of 16 teams) in the NCAA tournament. It is going to lose it's luster real quick.

As it stands right now for Bubble teams. There are always 12-16 teams that are on the per verbal, "bubble". Those teams rotate between themselves depending on how they do in any given week during the months of February and early March. Then as it gets closer to Selection Sunday the teams start to trim down to 8-10 then 6-8 then by Selection Sunday we have the: Last 4 IN and the Last 4 OUT.

Here is my idea. You have the 16 teams that are on the Bubble play 4 4-team tournaments at each site (one in the morning/afternoon and one in the late afternoon/early evening).

You rank the teams from 1 to 4 in each Regional Play-In Game depending on how you rank within the 16 teams playing in all the Play-In Games. So each region would have a 1 v 4 and 2 v 3 match-up, but it would be like the best 1 seed would face the worst 4 seed and so on down accordingly. Then the 2 teams that win their games would proceed onward to the NCAA Tournament in whatever region they were sent to.

Here is the twist. Those two teams are playing for the 8 and 9 seeds. Here is why it is fair. The two teams that are the winners from the play in game deserve to knock each other out. That way you are not taking momentum into a 1st Round game versus a team that earned their shot before the tournament started. Both have already played one game so no one team has played more games than the other. That game does not count towards Team/Coach/Player Career Tournament wins, it is a hoop you have to go through to get to the Dance. Finally after you have "earned" your way past the 1st Round what is waiting for you in the 2nd Round? The #1 Seed in the Region.

Bubble teams are basically fighting for their lives/jobs for a month and a half anyway, why not give them something tangible to shoot for in the end. To leave it to a decision by a Committee of Old Men who are no longer fighting for their place in the world is cruel and unusual for those teams that just didn't make it. The last 4 out teams are always (as Dick Vitale says) Heartbreak City baby!

Why not have this 16 team Play-In (Opening Round if you want to call it that) Extravaganza?

Which brings me back to that Tulsa v. Kent State match-up. This is going to be a good game. Maybe the best game of the opening round of the N.I.T. This would be the epitome of a match-up between a 2 and 3 seed in the Opening Round for the right to be a 8 or a 9 seed in the 1st Round. Nevada v. Wichita State and Illinois State v. Dayton are other great examples of the Opening Round. It would give Mid-Majors (along with middle to back of the pack Power Conference teams with winning conference records but yet still on the bubble) a better shot at the NCAAs.

For the people who are going to say that the 17th team on the Bubble is going to complain. For those people I have only one thing to say: the 17th Bubble team is a team that is going to be so not NCAA Tournament worthy that it will be laughable.

So I would be technically expanding the Tournament to 72.

It would be better than doing the NCAA is talking about doing right now.

-The Heckler

Thursday, March 4, 2010

The Rules of Court Storming

I have heard this topic being discussed on the Scott Van Pelt Show over the last month or so. I was kind on the fence on this topic unless last night (Wednesday March 3, 2010) when #22 Maryland beat #4 Duke and then the students stormed the court.

Okay now that we have totally gone insane we will go over when it is appropriate to storm the court.

Rules of Storming

1. You are a nontraditional powerhouse school and you upset a top 5 team in the country.

example: Arizona State upsetting a #1 U.C.L.A.

2. You beat a school that you haven't beat in 25+ years.

Reasons in which #2 is null and void:

-If you are ranked.
-If the school that you haven't beat in 25+ years has a losing record.
-If you are within 3 ranking positions of each other.
-If both of you have losing records.
-If you beat the other team by more than 10.
-If you have won a national title within 5 years of the win.
-If you are a traditional power in the world of college basketball
(i.e. Kansas, Duke, U.C.L.A., Kentucky, Syracuse, etc.)

3. You win a conference game for the first time in your schools existence in that conference.

example: DePaul

4. You win to get into the NCAA tournament for the first time in your schools history.

5. You win to win your conference for the first time in your schools history.

FINALLY...the last 2 reasons it is okay to storm the court

6. The star Senior hits the game winning shot as time expires on Senior Day against your most hated rival to propel you to the Conference title for the first time in school history.

7. You beat your most hated rival in your Legendary coaches last game of his career at home. The win is a buzzer beater and it propels you to the NCAA tournament for the last time in the career of your Legendary coach.

Other than the above stay in the stands. Don't do something just because you saw it on television and think it was cool. Court Storming is a Privilege not a Right. Remember that.

-The Heckler

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

The Art of Heckling: March Madness Edition

Okay students of the Obnoxious here is your instructor (me the Heckler) once again back to teach you the, "Art of Heckling".

Last time we talked about what to do at a Baseball Game (if you are sitting near homeplate.)

This time is I will let you know what to do if you are attending a Basketball Game.

Sitting Court-Side

Okay, here is the thing. A basketball game is different than going to a baseball game. You have a lot more leeway at a basketball game. There are more moments of insanity for the whole arena. You don't have to be as choice with your words (like at a baseball game). You just have to pick your spots effectively.

For instance you cannot start a tirade about how garbage the other team has been playing if that team is in the mist of a 12-0 run to get back into the game.


You shouldn't point out how garbage a player is unless that player has actually been garbage.

So... here are the rules of engagement at a Basketball Game:

1. Try not to curse. You shouldn't curse but there are a lot more knuckleheads out there at a basketball game, so you can get away with a few "F" bombs if you need.

2. Be creative/funny. Look, just like at a professional baseball game, these guys have heard it all. In fact these guys have heard it since they were in junior high school. So if you think you can drop a, "you suck _____, your game is nothing." You won't even get the crowd behind you. You need to think of something that they will stop and contemplate. Something that will make them turn their head a little towards your direction.

3. Don't get too drunk. Beer is a great starter. Don't get carried away though. IF you get too carried away then the crowd will report you to a security guard and then you are no longer at the event because you are talking to some rent-a-cop. You don't want that, your friends don't want that.

4. Make sure you make sense. Just because you can ramble a bit more at a basketball event doesn't mean you should be a rambling fool. Be obnoxious by all means, but make sure you can relate to everyone around you that you have some sort of intellectual competence; there is nothing worse then having fans yell at you for being stupid.

5. Pick your target. Don't heckle the WHOLE damn team. You aren't ME. Pick one or two guys that are going to be "your bitch" for that night. Just wear them out and they will hear you eventually. They can ignore you all they want but, if you ride them for the whole game you may get lucky near the end.

6. Enjoy the Game. Remember you are not being paid by the team to Heckle for them. If they are well... more power to you (you are better than I and maybe you should be doing this.); yet for the rest we are not getting paid. So above all...Have fun and enjoy the game. How many games can you afford to go to? Enjoy it.

Normally here I would give you some go to lines. Yet when it comes to basketball I am a little more juvenile and a little more crass than most people like, so I will just leave it to your imaginations as to what the go to lines could be.

I will leave you with one just as a teaser for what could have been.

"Are you sure that you were supposed to miss that Free Throw? I mean come on dude you have just as many points as my blind grandmother. Even she had better form than you! Maybe you should practice those Freebies big boy and not eat so many of those hand rolled burritos your girl likes to make for you and all the boys in the neighborhood. Tell her I missed her this morning when she left."

(If you haven't been hit in the face by the guy that is 5 feet in front of you, you will get at least a couple of beers bought for you by the drunkies that liked it. Along with the fact that that guy will DEFINITELY remember you.)

BTW...if you are at a college game and try this you will have to worry about getting thrown out along with the guy 5 ft in front of you wanting to punch you in the face.

Enjoy March Madness Kids.

Class is Out for the day.

-The Heckler