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I've long hated conference tournaments, but it's even worse for small conferences. Goodman doesn't even mention that Stony Brook lost on the road because Albany was chosen before the season to host the conference tournament. So, the 1-seed Stony Brook had to play AT the 4-seed Albany in the only event of the season that "matters." Short-term gain of ESPN cash to televise tournament final over long-term gain of your best team being in the tournament and giving your conference the best chance to win a game (and increase your tournament share, by the way).
Stony Brook coach Steve Pikiell has won the America East regular-season crown in three of the past four seasons and doesn't have a single NCAA tournament appearance to show for it. Middle Tennessee State coach Kermit Davis and the Blue Raiders dominated the Sun Belt this season, winning 19 of 20 league games and outdistancing South Alabama by five games. Five games.
I had posted this eleswhere but it is probably more relevant here. My grand plan to fix NCAA basketball.
I don't like conference tournaments at all really. I think the whole end of season needs to be reworked. I would do the following.
All regular season champs get an automatic bid. Dump a conference and go to 32 conferences maximum. The top 4 seeds in each region get a bye. This rewards the teams with the best seasons with something tangible. That leaves 16 teams playing in what we will call our first round.
The other 16 spots are your at large spots. They are determined by picking the 32 best teams that didn't win a conference. The teams are seeded 1-32 and play accordingly. The top 16 seeds play a home game in this elimination round. By doing it this way you give a huge reward to teams that win their conference. They don't have to play in this round. This creates some charged environments for TV as well.
You get 16 winners from that round that are dumped into the tourney bracket to play the 16 lowest rated conference champs. The winners of that move on to the 16 highest rated conference champs.
Now the teams that win the best leagues have to win 5 games to win the tourney.
Teams that win lesser leagues have to win 6 games to win the tourney.
Teams that don't win the league now have to win 7 games to win the tourney.
Conference tourneys are replaced with 3 or 4 nights of play in games (you have 16 games to play so you could run 4 a night on two stations for 4 nights) that are of much greater importance. You probably add a ton of ratings in the regular season as games are suddenly very important. Conferences are going to be forced to schedule in a "fair" way or their teams will revolt so that means more conferences playing round robins and less crap non-conference games.
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