Wednesday, January 25, 2012

A season-long tournament?

This afternoon I happened to watch the Carling Cup semifinal tie between Liverpool and Manchester City(Liverpool won the 2-game aggregate series 3-2) and wondered whether or not a season long tournament would be appropriate for College Basketball.

First, a backgrounder
Internationally, most soccer leagues(MLS and Australia's A-League are notable exceptions) are devoid of playoffs, everything is determined by how well you do over a long season. To compensate, there are open-style, season-long tournaments conducted by national governing bodies. Thus you get competitions like the FA Cup, the Copa del Rey, and the U.S. Open Cup.

Now, the poser
Could you see something like this in college basketball? Where everyone has a chance to win it? Probably not, but it's worth trying out. The tournament would involve every Division I school playing an FA Cup-style tournament, with brackets drawn after every round and every team having the right to host a game(ex.; Kentucky drawing a road game at Portland State, or Kansas hosting Duke before the semis). Theoretically, such a tournament would have the following characteristics(using this year's Division I list; excluding Nebraska-Omaha):

*Round 1: 216 teams compete to move on(these would include most of the lower levels of D-I)
*Round 2: Round 1 winners play-off
*Round 3: 54 teams from conferences like Conference USA, Atlantic 10, Mountain West, Missouri Valley, and Horizon League play Round 2 winners in hopes of playing in;
*Round 4: The 74 teams from the BCS 6 join the competition, playing for 7 additional rounds of knock-out competition before determining the cup winner.

It would make the regular season more valuable.
Allows for smaller schools to reap more benefits and visibility.
The final would easily sell out and TV ratings would be better than what the National Championship Game gets now.

Every BCS 6 school would hate having to go anywhere.
Length of the tournament would be a major problem.
Some schools(particularly the West Coast) don't want to be in the wrong side of the pool.
Would immediately render the NCAA tournament(and the various conference tournaments) defunct.
College Football would get very angry of the mere idea of College Basketball infringing on their turf.
Controversy would flare when a non-BCS school wins the tournament.

Tomorrow, I'll present how a FA Cup-style tournament would work with the alignment this season.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Bracket Watch '12 - January 23rd.

After a few weeks of just seeds, I now have a bracket to put them in. And I'll tell you this much, it will be difficult for anyone to correctly pick all 68 teams this year, never mind getting close with their seeds.

Final Four Pairings:
East(1) vs. West(4)
South(2) vs. Midwest(3)

The First Four:
Tuesday: Boston University(America East) vs. Mississippi Valley State(Southwestern); Minnesota vs. Xavier
Wednesday: UNC Asheville(Big South) vs. Texas-Arlington(Southland); Saint Louis vs. Marshall

EAST Regional

@ Pittsburgh
1-Syracuse(Big East) vs. Boston University/MVSU
8-Wichita State vs. 9-Virginia
@ Albuquerque
4-Florida vs. 13-Minnesota/Xavier
5-St. Mary's(West Coast) vs. 12-Long Beach State
@ Greensboro
2-North Carolina vs. 15-Norfolk State(Mid-Eastern)
7-Louisville vs. 10-New Mexico
@ Columbus
3-Michigan(Big Ten) vs. 14-Central Florida(Conference USA)
6-Kansas State vs. 11-Temple

WEST Regional

@ Greensboro
1-Duke vs. 16-Eastern Michigan(Mid-American)
8-Wisconsin vs. 9-California(Pacific-12)
@ Nashville
4-Vanderbilt vs. 13-Saint Louis/Marshall
5-Connecticut vs. 12-North Carolina State
@ Omaha
2-Missouri vs. 15-Bucknell(Patriot)
7-Harvard(Ivy) vs. 10-Purdue
@ Portland
3-Nevada-Las Vegas vs. 14-Weber State(Big Sky)
6-Indiana vs. 11-Oral Roberts(Summit)

SOUTH Region

@ Louisville
1-Kentucky(Southeastern) vs. 16-Valparaiso(Horizon)
8-Seton Hall vs. 9-Dayton(Atlantic 10)
@ Nashville
4-Florida State(Atlantic Coast) vs. 13-Iowa State
5-Michigan State vs. 12-Southern Mississippi
@ Albuquerque
2-Baylor vs. 15-George Mason(Colonial)
7-Marquette vs. 10-Illinois
@ Pittsburgh
3-Georgetown vs. 14-Belmont(Atlantic Sun)
6-Mississippi State vs. 11-Colorado State


@ Omaha
1-Kansas(Big 12) vs. 16-UNC Asheville/UT Arlington
8-Alabama vs. 9-Gonzaga
@ Columbus
4-Murray State(Ohio Valley) vs. 13-Davidson(Southern)
5-West Virgina vs. 12-Middle Tennessee(Sun Belt)
@ Louisville
2-Ohio State vs. 15-Long Island(Northeast)
7-Cincinnati vs. 10-Virginia Tech
@ Portland
3-Creighton(Missouri Valley) vs. 14-Nevada(Western Athletic)
6-San Diego State(Mountain West) vs. 11-Iona(Metro Atlantic)

Last four in the field: Minnesota, Xavier, Saint Louis, Marshall
First four left out: Oregon, South Florida, Memphis, Stanford
Next four left out: Northwestern, Notre Dame, Ohio, Mississippi
Also under consideration: La Salle, Massachusetts, Pittsburgh, Iowa, Oklahoma, Cleveland State, Akron, Missouri State, Northern Iowa, Arizona, Arkansas, Brigham Young

For Note Purposes Only
Look for the State of the Bubble series next week.