A 96-team bracket? Here's why it would never work

By Mike Wise
Monday, March 15, 2010

From Gary Williams's passionate plea -- "It's for the kids!" -- to NCAA wonks afraid they will be laid off, many arguments of conviction have been made to expand the NCAA basketball tournament from 65 to as many as 96 teams. Coaches and administrators with impeccable integrity have also built reasoned cases for staying the course.

John Calipari also weighed in, along with this 30-something, hip, awesome, new-jack cat at The Post with a blog and a Twitter account (because that's how we reward our techno-savvy whiz kids here).

But I already forget what both of them said.

Anyhow, the wrath a bulging bracket might bring on Selection Sunday, the absolute carnage, would not be worth it. Herewith, 65 reasons why:

1. Bruce Weber or Seth Greenberg (or Jim Calhoun another year) moaning about not being among the chosen 65 is one thing. Moaning about not being No. 96? Unpalatable.

2. If CBS's Gus Johnson is given another two days to incessantly holler names of obscure players at the top of his lungs -- "CAS-EY CAL-VARY!!!" -- the majority of American speaker systems will be blown out.

3. Serious reason No. 1: Playing in a 65-team tournament is a privilege. That's why it's so special to kids and teams who get to go. At 96, it becomes almost a right and a downright embarrassment if you don't go.

4. Larger brackets would take up the newspaper space usually dedicated to stories from credible sources, like Tiger Woods's childhood caddies and Jamie Jungers's literary agent.

5. With mauve and chartreuse in short supply, Sharpie Corp. is bound to run out of felt-pen colors to match Digger Phelps's blinding ties on ESPN, many of which are hand-me-downs from Regis Philbin anyway.

6. Serious reason No. 2: More teams do not save a coach's job. On the contrary: if you can't make a 96-team tournament, every power-conference coach not on probation should be fired.

7. Ninety-six would mean 48 more hours of uncomfortable banter between Doug Gottlieb and fellow ESPN analysts seriously annoyed by him.

8. Added teams directly result in T-shirt vendors joining other unemployed Americans. (96-team bracket can only be printed on Snuggies).

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