Mechanics of the NCAA Tournament
The talking heads are always trying to tweak the tournament this time of year. In general, I don't think it is broken...so don't mess with it. In fact, if the NCAA is looking for something to do, the D-1 football championship would be a better place to focus their energies.
But, in the interest of debate, here is what I think about the field of 64/65:
-Automatic Bids- College Basketball is not a completely level playing field. It never will be, so each conference has to be looked at on a case-by-case basis. I understand the big conferences giving it to their tourney champ. The reg. season champ is going to go anyway, so the tourney gives the other schools a second chance. I also understand that the conf. tournaments are huge money drivers. My opinion is, if the major conferences gave the bid to the season champ, then, half of the conference has no interest in the conf. tourney. For the less priviledged conference, this is a double-edged sword. They often only get one bid, so the season champ is only given a "better" seed in the conf. tournament as a reward. They might be the best team in the conference, but, anything can happen in the tourney. It's kinda like playing "HORSE" in the driveway. You can win, but then have to "prove it" for the game to be over. (maybe everyone doesn't play horse that way, but we always did)
-64 or 65- I am not a fan of the play-in game. The smaller schools already have enough of an uphill battle, this only hurts them more. Jay Bilas on ESPN said something I agree with: This year, the bubble teams really aren't all that good. This is supposed to be a playoff to find a national champion. Not just putting teams in to fill up the bracket. If the NCAA wants to keep the play-in game, then the bubble teams should be in it, not an automatic bid. The schools worked hard and earned an automatic bid into the NCAA Tourney, not an auto-bid into a play-in game.
I understand a lot of the opinions on all sides of these and the other issues about the tourney. The tourney will probably never be perfect, and I can understand always trying to review and make it better. But, they need to be careful. Change for the sake of change can only do harm.