Ready for The First Four?

The NCAA, in its infinite wisdom, has come up with a hokey way to format its new 68 team tournament:

http://sports.espn.go.com/ncb/news/story?id=5374116

The purist in me would have gone with the obvious idea, which is to have the “worst” 8 teams play 17 v 16 games for the right to play the #1 seed in each region.  Having the “worst” 4 at-large teams (3 of the 4 would have been left out using last season’s format) playing the “worst 4 automatic bid teams (the 4 #16 seeds using the 64 team formats of yore) is a bit, um, creative.  The theory is you are making these teams “earn” their way in.  In reality fewer small school teams will make the round of 64, more power and mid-major conference teams will, but these are relatively mediocre at large teams and the chance for an upset is there, particularly if a team has an off night playing an HBCU team being under-valued by the RPI.  Also, it could make the Round of 64 games more compelling, as teams that were #15 seeds under the 64 team tournament format are now the #16 seeds, the 14s are now 15s, and etc.  And it does preserve the fact that, entering the season, everyone has a chance, unlike bowl subdivision football.  I’ll watch it.

***UPDATE*** Even hokier than I thought: I guess its a combo of 17v16 type games and play into a #12 type games.  Oh well.

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