Sunday, April 11, 2010

But(ler) for an Inch or Three...

I didn't get a chance to comment on last Monday's remarkable national title game, which stayed vacuum-tight down to the wire and nearly turned on a Butler shot from beyond halfcourt that just missed going in. Duke was a deserving champion, but this Tournament will forever be remembered as "Butler's Tournament." I did go so far as to mention in my pre-Tournament predictions that Butler had it in them to make a serious bid for the Final Four, but I didn't have the stones to actually pick the Bulldogs.

It was a superb Tournament, which the NCAA, in its finite wisdom, appears ready to follow up with an ill-considered expansion of the field to 96 teams. This would be, by far, the biggest change ever made in the size of the field from one year to the next, and I don't see much good coming from it. Among many other side effects, it would almost surely kill the NIT. If the NCAA wants to give more teams "meaningful" postseason experiences, I'd much rather that it (1) expand the NIT from 32 to 64 teams AND (2) reward the four teams that make the NIT Final Four with automatic bids to the following year's NCAA Tournament.

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