Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Tourney play-in games are a joke

March Madness is just around the corner. The small conference tournaments are wrapping up and automatic bids are being claimed. Congratulations go out to my alma mater, the University of North Texas. The Mean Green are dancing for the first time since 1988.

Now this raises a question in my mind: What will UNT be seeded? They have had a good year, winning 23 games, but were only the five seed in the Sun Belt conference tournament. I would be shocked if they were seeded higher than fifteen in the Big Dance. I can only hope that they avoid the play-in game.

I hate the play-in. This is just another tool used so the major conferences can pretend they are throwing a bone to the small conferences, when in fact, the extra place in the tourney goes to another big conference also-ran. All the low seeds only got in by winning their conference tournament--number 65 isn't going to be the Sun Belt runner-up. Having the play-in game simply allows the seventh or eighth best team from, say, the SEC say they made the Big Dance. Who really cares? When the bracket is announced, look for the play-in teams. Chances are, they won't even be properly named, but instead called 'Play-in Winner'. It's second class citizen treatment.

You like the play-in because it gives one low seed the opportunity to win a tournament game? Garbage. They have an opportunity: it's called the 1-16 game. That's their chance. Anything else is an insult. No one considers the play-in a real tournament game and there is no real satisfaction in winning it. One day, a sixteen will beat a one seed and that will be a historic celebration. Just remember you heard it here first.

And if you like the play-in game, why is there only one? That makes no sense at all. If you have to have it, there should be four play-in games: one in each region. At least then it wouldn't be entirely stupid. Just logically stupid. Or somesuch.

But the best solution would be to lose the play-in. Of course, this will never happen. Major athletics, whether pro or collegiate, do not go small. NHL seasons won't get shorter, NBA rosters won't get smaller, NFL preseason games are here to stay, forget MLB contraction and the NCAA Tourney play-in won't go away, no matter how much sense it would make.

7 comments:

Heather said...

Go screeching eagles, or mean green, or whatever we're called now! Can I get an H to the yeah! I wonder if Dr Phil will go to the game. Norah Jones should provide half time entertainment. UNT jazz band drop out in the hizzy! Holler!

Perhaps wives should not be allowed to comment on the sports blog...

Chris said...

And how many Mean Green basketball games have you been to--ever?

PJ said...

I remember going to the games where you could wander up to the door about the middle of the first half and still get a pretty good seat. I wonder if things are a little more packed now...

Chris said...

Maybe a little, but that isn't saying much. This article at dallasnews.com says that before the tournament they packed the house with a meager 200 at a pep rally. Sadly enough, this is a significant improvement.

heather said...

I kind of remember going to one UNT mens' basketball game many many years ago, but after I REALLY thought about it I think it was a Harlem Globetrotters game I went to at the UNT arena, and not a UNT men's game. Chris, can you verify this?

Chris said...

Yes, it was the Globetrotters. They do tricks. Back then the Mean Green were just bad.

Heather said...

Yeah, that's it.