Full Version: 2nd Annual Thread on Making College Basketball Better
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After that article yesterday where Burke Mangus essentially said that ESPN has a vested interest in the quality of college sports, it got me thinking about what should be done with college basketball to make it more relevant in comparison with college football.

College basketball is already great, don't get me wrong, but there are reasons it doesn't generate the same fan interest and subsequent revenue that their pigskin playing brethren do. Many of these reasons are artificially created though. That's the problem and so I'm here to offer solutions.

The biggest problem with college basketball is that the regular season holds little value. In other words, the NCAA Basketball Tournament is structured in such a way as to diminish the importance of most regular season games. Fans know this and have known it for a very long time. They'll tune in to the Big Dance because it's a great and thrilling event. The typical regular season game just doesn't generate that much buzz though...even the key games.

I've argued in the past that the primary problem with the Tournament is not necessarily how many teams get in, but how exactly they qualify.

For one, these conferences have decided that anyone and everyone can make the conference tournament. That's the first mistake. The regular season conference schedule exists purely to determine seeding for the conference tourney. While I'm fine with conference champions getting an automatic bid, there isn't a good reason from a competitive standpoint to allow more than a handful of top teams into a conference tournament whereby that bid is won.

The second problem is that there is entirely too much emphasis placed on non-conference games. These games end up being of immense importance as far as determining whether a team gets an at-large bid yet they take place during football season and/or the winter break. Fans and students alike are focused on the end of football season, exams, holidays, and the like. Fans end up missing the games that really count and most of the time you don't even necessarily know why a game was important when it was being played because the committee is ultimately quite subjective.

But even more than that, the non-conference games are given so much weight that when it's time to enter conference play, the teams that are in weaker RPI leagues have little ability to help their cause. Losing games hurts you more than winning games helps you because every loss is deemed a confirmation of the weak league RPI. If your league built a good RPI in the early part of the season then you might not have this problem, but you will still be judged primarily on your non-conference record.

Both of these dynamics working together lead to a quandary...

The conference games are the ones that most fans care about, but it's a little harder to get excited about them when the stakes are fairly low.

-I've suggested in the past that basing Tournament berths on conference standings would go a long way to solving college basketball's problems. There are several ways that could be done, but I suggest we start by ensuring that every league plays a round-robin schedule. Play every team in your league twice...once home and away.

-I would also suggest intermixing the non-conference schedule throughout the regular season rather than playing virtually all of them during the early portion of the season.

-Cap the conference tournament participants to 4-6. That way, you're auto-bid really means something rather than just allowing the hottest team to win.

-Cap the tournament to 64 so that everyone plays the same number of games.

-Create a subdivision within D1 college basketball. About half the leagues or more do not belong on the same level with the major basketball conferences. Virtually all of these leagues that can't get a team in without an auto-bid simply bring nothing to the tournament. The occasional upset doesn't really add to the competitive nature of the Tourney. It simply creates a spectacle...a fun one, but not something that contributes to the goal of crowning a champion. Give this subdivision their own tournament and their own national championship.

-If we need to then create "bowl games" for teams that had good seasons. You could do this by hosting 8 team tournaments during March in nice locales. Allow teams to play interesting non-conference games and compete for some bragging rights to finish the season off. The conferences could own these events and operate them in conjunction with officials in the locales.
I suggest Arkansas actually shows up and plays the first 10-15 minutes of their ball games. 01-lauramac205-mafia
I think basketball may be better served to wait until after football to start their regular season, so they didn't have to compete with football for ratings. I think it would be better to start the season at the beginning of January and try and condense it enough to finish the championship in May. I think fans might be more invested in the season if they saw it from the beginning and I think sometimes football overwhelms their viewing habits. Obviously if you could get rid of the games with the absolute worst teams from the lower leagues it would improve the product.

Even though this isn't related to the regular season, I would like to see the NCAA tourney go to double elimination. Even if it had to wait until the round of 32 or even round of 16 before double elimination started.
If baseball can do it basketball can do it.

Or if double elimination was implemented a re-seeding and best of 3 series for each matchup beginning with the round of 16.
Start the season later, maybe first week in December
More quality OOC games

Other than that it’s hard to say
1st, The NBA needs to remove the one and done rule. This will eliminate some issues.

2nd, Basketball needs to become a one semester sport. Start the season during late December break with preseason tournaments. Move the NCAA tournament to mid-May after finals.

3rd, Larger conferences should get two NCAA tournament autobids. One for the regular season champion and one for the conference tournament champion.
This may be unpopular, but I think there should be an I-A/I-AA type split in college basketball as well as all college sports with more than 150 schools. I'm not saying the split should be how FBS/FCS is split but the split should be sport specific. For basketball, the NIT would be the I-AA tournament. Here's how I'd split the conferences:

I-A which totals to 170 schools
Big East
Sun Belt

I-AA which totals to 181 schools
America East
Big Sky
Big South
Big West

The biggest struggle for me was the Horizon League.
I don't think basketball needs a rebuild like football does.

I honestly would love a long moratorium on conference realignment. The past 10 years has really had way too much movement, with some teams jumping conferences 2-3 times in that time span.

I actually think there should be a singular mathematic selection formula used to pick the top 64 teams. I also would set in a provision that you need to be in the top 100 of RPI or w/e to "win the autobid". I don't mind a middling team getting hot, but some of the lower conferences are actually sending really bad teams because of ONE upset in the conference tournament.
(01-12-2018 08:35 AM)hawghiggs Wrote: [ -> ]1st, The NBA needs to remove the one and done rule. This will eliminate some issues.

As the payouts for the G-League improve the one and done type players will decide to forego college, resolving this issue.

Quote: 2nd, Basketball needs to become a one semester sport. Start the season during late December break with preseason tournaments. Move the NCAA tournament to mid-May after finals.

How does making MBB one semester improves the sport? I don't see any problem with the seasons' current format.

Quote: 3rd, Larger conferences should get two NCAA tournament autobids. One for the regular season champion and one for the conference tournament champion.

Absolutely not! This strikes at the heart of what I consider to be the real issue with CBB; Conference tourney for the majors. Unless you are a single bid conference, these events are functionally useless.

What would help MBB create some needed urgency is to reduce the number of teams that make it to March Madness. Drop down to 48 or 52 teams and bring some meaning back into the conference championships by making the finish in that event along with a school's regular season record and SOS the metrics for getting into the big dance.
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