After the last expansion from inviting 65 to 68 schools which started in 2011, expect no major tweaks or expansion of the field
I found an interesting article while reading the Associated Press link in their college basketball section on Monday afternoon.
The article from John Marshall basically talked about the NCAA mainly keeping the main core of the tournament that we as fans enjoy talking about so very much each March will basically remain the same.
“Over the past many, many decades, the core is really solid, so it’s what can we do to enhance it without taking away from that core. Because of the intricacies of the NCAA Tournament, I would challenge that’s something you wouldn’t want to touch. We live in a society where we want to change, improve everything, but the core of it is pretty good.”
Mark Hollis, chair of the NCAA’s Division I men’s basketball committee, said Monday.
Consider that during the 2015 version of the Big Dance, people tuned in to the tune of an average of around 11.3 million viewers. It was the most watched set of games since the infamous Chris Webber didn’t have the extra timeout for Michigan way back in 1993.
Whether it was through the four channel lineup of CBS, TBS, TNT, and TruTV or via the NCAA March Madness app on smartphones seeing the same TV calls or hearing the radio version over on Westwood One where fans can tap on the game of their choice during the first round, fans are more than curious–they get into the games.
“Is it (expansion) possible in the future? Sure, anything’s possible, but I don’t see that in the short term. The core of it and the thing that makes it so incredibly popular is what’s protected by this committee, so by and large the traditions that make March Madness the way it is will stay.”
Dan Gavitt, NCAA vice president of men’s basketball championships
Even the talk of splitting the First Four games where venues like in South Dakota or other Western states would have taken a small load off of Dayton’s hands. However, with the UD Arena already hosting doubleheaders on Tuesday and Wednesday night–it has been a great host to kick off what I refer to as the appetizer version leading towards the main course (which starts off with so much anticipation shortly after 12 noon Eastern time on the third Thursday every March and continuing almost uninterrupted for 12, sometimes 13 consecutive hours over two days).
“That’s the X factor: If we you move it, consider another location, can they deliver that incredible college basketball feel and experience? It’s a risk because you don’t know. Some of the other places where we have first and second rounds somewhat depend on what teams are playing there. That’s always going to be the trick when it comes to (playing the) First Four.”
One thing that has been a nice change is seeing the fan experience grow during Super Saturday at the Final Four. Plenty of fan interactive exhibits abound at each Final Four city and year after year, major rock acts perform before the TBS or CBS cameras. There might be similar fan events and some concerts possibly at the four Regional sites for the schools that comprise that year’s Sweet 16 and eventually the Elite Eight.
Again, Dan Gavitt and the NCAA are exploring their options to enhance the overall fan experience going into that second weekend–thanks to the recent TV deal having both CBS and TBS split the coverage of that round of games. Instead of having the Saturday games end in early prime time and the Sunday games end just in time before 60 Minutes, they could do concerts most of the afternoons leading to the games at night:
“It’ll never approach the size and scope of the Final Four, but for those fans, those four teams in those three days are arguably as good as the Final Four the following weekend, depending on who the teams are. So to make it a bigger and more exciting event for that locality would make it special.”
Dan Gavitt speaking on Monday
For those fans flying or driving to Kansas City, San Jose, Memphis, or New York–start getting those walking shoes and maybe some extra water bottles ready to keep everyone hydrated during the trip.
For other interested fans, please continue to read and support my blog.
The full link to the article can be found here:
Thank you so much for reading and have yourself a great rest of the day.
Please try to stay warm.