The NCAA Tournament is a near-perfect feast of college basketball. So figuring out what to change might seem like a challenge. Or maybe not. Even March Madness, the annual basketball battle royal to determine the NCAA’s champion, could use a little tweaking.
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“That Championship Game on Monday night, starting late on the East Coast,” ranted Gregg Giannotti, co-host of Gio & Jones. “Sorry, I gotta get some sleep. I want this game on Sunday or earlier, I don’t care about the people on the West Coast.”
The First Four has been a point of contention since it was first introduced back in 2001. Evan Roberts, co-host of Benigno & Roberts on WFAN in New York, sees them as a waste of time. “I think it’s confusing for the brackets; I’d go back to having 64 teams. In fact, I’d even consider making it 32 teams.”
Too much of something can dilute the quality overall. And that’s certainly a danger with what are essentially play-in games.
“Most of these big time basketball arenas on campus [hold] 16-17,000-ish,” said Tierney. “Then you get to the Final Four and you’re playing in front of [at least] 60,000.”
Gottlieb explained that what makes college basketball so special is “the emotion and the atmosphere” and that bringing the game to a dome “takes it away.”
“I would play the Final Four in an arena and not a dome,” said Gottlieb. “And the logic behind it is this: We’re taking away a portion of what makes college basketball so great just to decide who is a ‘true champion’ or just to sell more tickets and make more money.”
“I’m not a fan of doing something one way all year long and then radically altering it at the biggest moment,” said Tierney. “I think there’s something fundamentally wrong with that.”