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Author Topic: [Cracked Sidewalks] How to do NCAA Tournament Expansion Right  (Read 1115 times)

brewcity77

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[Cracked Sidewalks] How to do NCAA Tournament Expansion Right
« on: August 17, 2022, 10:01:36 AM »
With Greg Sankey's recent comments, it seems inevitable that an expanded NCAA Tournament without automatic qualifiers is coming. While the obvious reaction will likely be fan dismay at the tournament quality being diluted, what if it could be both bigger AND better? Cracked Sidewalks tries to point the way toward an improved NCAA field and experience.

https://www.crackedsidewalks.com/2022/08/how-to-do-ncaa-tournament-expansion.html
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Sultan Sultanberger

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Re: [Cracked Sidewalks] How to do NCAA Tournament Expansion Right
« Reply #1 on: August 17, 2022, 10:20:21 AM »
Well done. I think this does enough to bring in more $$ as well as preserve the traditions that has made the tournament great.
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CountryRoads

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Re: [Cracked Sidewalks] How to do NCAA Tournament Expansion Right
« Reply #2 on: August 17, 2022, 11:46:25 AM »
Before anything else should be considered, I think the first step should be stripping Dayton away from hosting every First Four. There’s really no reason for it to be there every year.

If anything, the play-in game should be played at the actual site of the first and second round games.

Sultan Sultanberger

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Re: [Cracked Sidewalks] How to do NCAA Tournament Expansion Right
« Reply #3 on: August 17, 2022, 11:55:59 AM »
Before anything else should be considered, I think the first step should be stripping Dayton away from hosting every First Four. There’s really no reason for it to be there every year.

If anything, the play-in game should be played at the actual site of the first and second round games.


Dayton does a really good job with it, and its location in the middle of the country and close to Indianapolis (NCAA headquarters) is beneficial.

https://spectrumnews1.com/oh/columbus/news/2022/03/15/first-four-more-than-just-basketball-games-in-dayton

Furthermore, I think it would be logistically difficult for first round sites to host those games if they usually hold other events - like Fiserv.  It would need to be reserved for too long.
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Sultan Sultanberger

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Re: [Cracked Sidewalks] How to do NCAA Tournament Expansion Right
« Reply #5 on: August 17, 2022, 12:04:12 PM »
Middle you say?
https://www.google.com/maps/place/Dayton,+OH/@38.7995301,-102.1202495,4z


Yeah I meant to say something like "centrally located" and chose the wrong words.
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brewcity77

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Re: [Cracked Sidewalks] How to do NCAA Tournament Expansion Right
« Reply #6 on: August 17, 2022, 01:17:59 PM »

Dayton does a really good job with it, and its location in the middle of the country and close to Indianapolis (NCAA headquarters) is beneficial.

https://spectrumnews1.com/oh/columbus/news/2022/03/15/first-four-more-than-just-basketball-games-in-dayton

Furthermore, I think it would be logistically difficult for first round sites to host those games if they usually hold other events - like Fiserv.  It would need to be reserved for too long.

For those events, you want arenas where the basketball team is the primary tenant, a city where going to these games will be a draw in and of itself, and relatively easy to get to. Dayton has Cincy, Bloomington has Indy, and both Knoxville and Omaha are major enough cities to be draws, but none of the cities have viable pro sports franchises that will divide interest. Getting two nights every year on a Tuesday/Wednesday shouldn't be that tough.
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Sultan Sultanberger

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Re: [Cracked Sidewalks] How to do NCAA Tournament Expansion Right
« Reply #7 on: August 17, 2022, 01:32:08 PM »
I am not suggesting that no other cities should be in consideration. I just don't think "stripping" Dayton of the First Four because they have done it a long time isn't a great reason.
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dgies9156

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Re: [Cracked Sidewalks] How to do NCAA Tournament Expansion Right
« Reply #8 on: August 17, 2022, 01:54:14 PM »
I am not suggesting that no other cities should be in consideration. I just don't think "stripping" Dayton of the First Four because they have done it a long time isn't a great reason.

Some places to have the first four with arenas appropriate for the event:

1) Knoxville, TN
2) Chapel Hill, NC
3) Nashville, TN (Memorial Gym, would be a great place and much easier to get to than Dayton)
4) Madison, WI
5) Omaha, NE
6) Austin, Texas (much easier to get tho than Dayton)
7) San Antonio, Texas
8) Kansas City, MO (also easier to get to than Dayton)

And I'm sure for two days, if you wanted the arena in St. Louis, Detroit, Chicago, Orlando etc., it would not be hard.

Sultan Sultanberger

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Re: [Cracked Sidewalks] How to do NCAA Tournament Expansion Right
« Reply #9 on: August 17, 2022, 01:58:19 PM »
Some places to have the first four with arenas appropriate for the event:

1) Knoxville, TN
2) Chapel Hill, NC
3) Nashville, TN (Memorial Gym, would be a great place and much easier to get to than Dayton)
4) Madison, WI
5) Omaha, NE
6) Austin, Texas (much easier to get tho than Dayton)
7) San Antonio, Texas
8) Kansas City, MO (also easier to get to than Dayton)

And I'm sure for two days, if you wanted the arena in St. Louis, Detroit, Chicago, Orlando etc., it would not be hard.


I mean...cool.

You seem to be countering an argument I am not having.
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brewcity77

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Re: [Cracked Sidewalks] How to do NCAA Tournament Expansion Right
« Reply #10 on: August 17, 2022, 01:59:17 PM »
If you have stable locations, I think the keys would be no pro franchise in town and making sure there's at least one Big 10 and one SEC school represented because they'll be driving the bus. Need at least one west of the Mississippi as well.
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lawdog77

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Re: [Cracked Sidewalks] How to do NCAA Tournament Expansion Right
« Reply #11 on: August 17, 2022, 03:04:35 PM »
If you have stable locations, I think the keys would be no pro franchise in town and making sure there's at least one Big 10 and one SEC school represented because they'll be driving the bus. Need at least one west of the Mississippi as well.
What's the reasoning for no pro franchises? Also, why not have these games hosted at the arenas where their next game is?

brewcity77

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Re: [Cracked Sidewalks] How to do NCAA Tournament Expansion Right
« Reply #12 on: August 17, 2022, 04:14:00 PM »
What's the reasoning for no pro franchises? Also, why not have these games hosted at the arenas where their next game is?

Because they are trying to build this up, you don't want to be competing with other live events. I think it also helps to have the college be the biggest game in town.

Having all the programs where they'll play next would reduce the number of cities that could host. The first weekend needs hotel space for 8 programs, 8 fanbases, and 8 sets of media (plus national). Adding 50% to increase that to 12 restricts who can apply and would take many college towns out of the mix.

It would also be a logistical nightmare. When you use Dayton, you can send two teams to Thursday and two to Friday with a lot of freedom. But current NCAA setups have alternating dates. So all 4 site play in games would have to be played the same day. Tuesday and Wednesday would have to be just as long as Thursday and Friday but with half the inventory.

It would be impossible from a play in perspective. If the 15 & 16 play ins are there, they have to play into the 1 & 2, which means the 8/9 and 7/10 have to be at that site, which means the other two necessary play ins can't be there.

It just doesn't work.
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Eye

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Re: [Cracked Sidewalks] How to do NCAA Tournament Expansion Right
« Reply #13 on: August 18, 2022, 09:07:50 AM »
I think you've made a decent argument that making all the 15s and 16s play to get to the Final 64 improves the quality of the tourney.

But I'm not sure adding all the extra at-larges will draw that many more eyeballs on Tuesday and Wednesday. A decent number of teams in Power 6 league that have to play Tuesday or Wednesday consider it a bad season if they're playing those days. For sure that's the case with the bluebloods, or the teams a step below the bluebloods. Until you've got teams that have are perceived at that time to have a legit shot to win the tourney are playing, not sure that'll change, most people will still see them as play-in games.

My gauge for whether I'm really into watching those games on Tuesday and Wednesday is whether I'd make time to watch them if they were played in a November tourney instead of the NC2A tourney. Still not the case for a lot of what you have listed there, and if I'm a Mini However Many or SEC fan that's objective about the league, I think you're saying you've seen enough of Indiana and Florida being mediocre this year that it's not appointment television.

Enjoyed the read.
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Re: [Cracked Sidewalks] How to do NCAA Tournament Expansion Right
« Reply #14 on: August 18, 2022, 09:25:32 AM »
But my guess is that the First Four draws way more eyeballs than anything else that is shown on TruTV during that timeframe.
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brewcity77

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Re: [Cracked Sidewalks] How to do NCAA Tournament Expansion Right
« Reply #15 on: August 18, 2022, 02:03:06 PM »
But my guess is that the First Four draws way more eyeballs than anything else that is shown on TruTV during that timeframe.

It does, and the at large play in games absolutely butcher the 16s in terms of ratings.

It wouldn't do Thursday/Friday ratings, but if you get games like ND/Rutgers and push the hell out of the VCU/Syracuse/UCLA stories, I think it would become more important.

The real key, though, would be getting the bracket makers to include those games in scoring. Get the ESPN/CBS/Fox websites to include those games as part of your outcome and people will start to tune in.
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Eye

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Re: [Cracked Sidewalks] How to do NCAA Tournament Expansion Right
« Reply #16 on: August 19, 2022, 11:06:41 AM »
That part I do agree with Brew. While I thoroughly enjoy college basketball from November to April, it's a thing were 10 bucks gives you three weeks of entertainment for a lot of people. As a guy who runs a pool with 400 guys in it each year, the vast majority of people do their brackets on Wednesday. Making them do it Monday would cut interest a pretty good amount IMHO.
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The Equalizer

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Re: [Cracked Sidewalks] How to do NCAA Tournament Expansion Right
« Reply #17 on: August 19, 2022, 03:43:36 PM »
Quote from: Sultan Sultanberger link=topic=63536.msg1464555#msg1464555 date=
But my guess is that the First Four draws way more eyeballs than anything else that is shown on TruTV during that timeframe.

You're not wrong about normal TruTV programming.  But you might be surprised if you compared first-four ratings to First Round games from Thursday and Friday:

First Four viewers:

Texas A&M CC vs. Texas Southern - 1.203 million
Bryant vs. Wright State - 1.281 million
Indiana vs. Wyoming - 2.196 million
Notre Dame vs. Rutgers - 2.206 million

Now compare to some true first-round games on Thursday and Friday afternoon:

UNC vs. Marquette - 1.168 million
S. Dakota St. vs. Providence - 800K
TCU vs. Seton Hall - 720K

That TAMUCC/Texas Southern game actually outdrew a total of 11 first-round games from Friday and Saturday. 

Source: https://showbuzzdaily.com/articles/skedball-weekly-sports-tv-ratings-3-14-3-20-2022.html

It's been said here before, but unless it's one of the elites, people aren't tuning for the teams or seeds. They tune in because it's the tournament, and the biggest factors driving ratings of individual games are the day-of-week, the time-of-day, and whether there's a better game on at the same time.

Evenings draw better than afternoons. Weekends draw better than Weekdays. Later rounds draw better than earlier rounds (after adjusting for day of week and time of day.)

Those First Four games on Tuesday or Wednesday between no-names fighting for a chance to be slaughtered by Arizona or Kansas draw high ratings because a) they're in the evening and b) there is almost no competition.

If you want the simple solution to expanding the tournament and increasing ratings, just add a round.  Pull the band aid, make it a 96-game tournament, 32 teams playing 16 games the first weekend in March. That first weekend, your 9 seed plays 24, 10 plays 23, etc. Then the following Thursday/Friday you have 64 teams playing the rest of the tournament as normal.

Sure you have to force the major conferences to move their tournaments up a week--but an earlier conference tournament works for the Atlantic Sun or Summit, it will work for the Big East or Big Ten.