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Thursday, December 18, 2014

USC-VCU and Clemson-UAB Should be in Main Draw, Not Play-in Games

The NCAA tournament expanded to a 68-team field this year meaning there are four play-in games. Nobody paid attention to the play-in games in the past (aside from the fans of the participating schools and the people of Dayton), but they’re trying to change things up this year with bigger-name teams to spark more interest. In fact, two of the four play-in games involve teams from the big-time BCS conferences. Clemson and UAB will meet on Tuesday evening while USC and VCU are playing Wednesday evening.

While it’s fun to have some legitimate teams in the play-in games, I have to ask one question: why do they have good squads competing for the right to be entered in the main draw?

The dead giveaway that these play-in games are unfair is that USC and VCU are meeting for the 11-seed, while Clemson and UAB are playing for a 12-seed. Does that make any sense to you? Of course not.

The only teams that should be in play-in games are ones that are fighting for 16 seeds. The teams seeded 16th are obviously the least qualified to be in the tournament, otherwise they’d be seeded higher. If a team is good enough to be seeded 11th or 12th, that’s a clear admission they’re better than 16 teams already in the field. Why make them win for the right to get into the field?

Spare me the nonsense about the “last four at-large teams are in play-in games” or whatever garbage the whacked out selection committee is using. Whatever reasoning they use, I’m pretty confident they’re putting good programs in play-in games for one reason: to attract a bigger television audience. Can anything else explain why quality programs like Clemson or USC are in the play-ins?



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