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March 12, 2010 10:38 AM

Why Expand Tournament? No One Wants in This Year

arizona state.jpgThis could not be a worse year for proponents of tournament expansion. One reason the argument for expanding to 96 teams heated up so much during the year was because of the depth of solid teams that did not make it into the tournament last year.

In 2009 San Diego State, St. Mary's, Penn State, Creighton, Auburn, and Davidson were all among teams that either had a solid case for being included in the field of 64 and/or were really exciting to watch, but all these teams missed out. Naturally it got more people to thinking that expansion of the field of 64 was warranted, but then this year happened.

Seemingly every team that was on the bubble at the start of the week has been fighting to get off the bubble - in the wrong direction. The bubble teams from Conference-USA, Memphis and UAB, both lost to far inferior teams in the first round of their conference tournament, all but knocking them off the bubble. Same can be said for Arizona State, who lost to lowly Stanford. Seton Hall couldn't do what they needed to do to move to the good side of the bubble. With so many teams losing "must win" games, it's likely that at least one of them will still get rewarded for choking their opportunity away.

Had these bubble teams proven themselves by winning the games they were supposed to they could have put some pressure on a team like Wake Forest, who got embarrassed by horrid Miami, and have been playing awful basketball of late, but still will end up around a 10-seed in this weak field.

So to argue for expansion this year is to argue that all these teams that had ample opportunity to play themselves into the tournament, but failed to do so, deserve a spot in the field. It's ludicrous. When you don't even have 64 decent teams, why would you possibly want to expand to include 96?

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