The ACC is proposing a change to the NCAA tournament that is dumb and unnecessary.
Per reports, members of the once-proud basketball conference that sold its soul for football several years back would like to see four more teams make the Big Dance each spring, bringing the total number to 72.
ACC commissioner John Swofford says this would create a second First Four, though it would not. That would actually require going to a field of 76.
» LOOKING BACK: Dayton overwhelmed with joy to keep First Four
That little oversight should probably tell us a lot about how much thought went into this proposal, but while we’re having this conversation, here’s the change that really should be made.
The last thing the NCAA tournament needs is more teams considering we already give at-large bids to schools that can’t even finish above .500 in their league.
Instead of expanding the field, the NCAA basketball committee should right a wrong that has existed since the play-in game was created and awarded to Dayton at the dawn of the century.
No automatic bid winner should have to play before the round of 64 starts on Thursday and Friday of the first weekend of the tournament.
You win and you’re in, not halfway.
The folks who put on the First Four do an awesome job of making the experience as much as possible like it would be at the weekend sites, but it is still not the same thing.
There is still an extra game, extra travel, less time to prepare, etc.
The First Four should consist of the last eight at-large teams, a change that is more fair to the 16 seeds now and only punishes teams that barely deserve to be in the field anyway.
Plus this likely would increase interest (and TV ratings) in the Tuesday and Wednesday games since the teams that would end up in this revamped First Four would likely have larger fanbases and higher-profile brands than the 16 seeds who make up half of it now.
What’s not to like?
Make it happen, committee!