Friday, April 23, 2010

March Madness Adds Three (Not 31) Teams

I don't think anyone outside of the NCAA Tournament committee was interested in seeing 96 teams compete as part of the annual March Madness, and for the time being it looks like the rest of us got our wish. It's almost absurd to think that the field of 65 should be expanded at all, especially after last year which was one of the most diluted tournament fields in history. But the tournament still will be expanded a bit, although by just three teams.

I really couldn't have imagined a tournament that would have included 96 teams, as it would have taken a lot of the allure away from the tournament. Plus, it's a lot easier to call in sick on a Thursday and Friday than it is to call in sick for the whole week, which the expanded tournament would have forced many of us to do.

The extra three teams will presumably all take part in play-in games, as there will now be four play-in games over all, which is fine with me. CBS will retain the rights to the tournament in a join agreement that will also add some games on Turner Sports, which means every game will be shown live in its entirety for the first time ever. They are paying a hefty price though, as they are forking over $10.8 billion to keep the rights to the tournament until 2024.

There is one negative to this news, however, as it looks like I'm going to owe $50 to Bear. I believe our bet was that the NCAA would expand the tournament to 96 teams within the next five years, but I'm hoping we just bet that they would expand it so that I technically would win. Either way, it adds to the stupid bets that I've made over the years, such as $100 that Craig Nall would one day win an NFL MVP award, and the $200 I bet when I was in junior high declaring that I would be the starting goaltender for the USA in this year's World Cup.

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