Bubba Expresses Support for 128 Team NCAA Tournament

Whoa....wait a minute Bubba.

Via The Sporting News:

New North Carolina AD Bubba Cunningham tells The Charlotte Observer he has “generally been a proponent” of having 128 teams in the Big Dance. Cunningham took over the UNC job in November after holding the same post at Tulsa.

Bubba Cunningham was athletic director of Tulsa from 2005 to 2011. The Golden Hurricane did not make the NCAA Tournament during his tenure.

“I think the first 64 games should be played at on-campus sites, but I think it could come about eventually,” he said.“When you have 348 teams trying to get what is now 68 places in the tournament, the odds are pretty long for a lot of teams. There are teams that don’t have a great deal of hope.”

Two years ago, the NCAA gave serious consideration to expanding to 96 teams, but ultimately decided to go from 65 to 68 teams. The 68-team format was first played last season.

Cunningham says he does not believe expansion to 128 teams necessarily would wipe out postseason conference tournaments,

“There are lot of models that would have to be considered,” he said.

I would consider this Bubba's first real misstep in what has been an otherwise tremendous tenure so far. This is the sort of point of view I would expect an AD at Tulsa or Ball State to express. After all, those schools need a wider gate through which to enter the NCAA Tournament. As the AD of one of the perennial contenders for the national title in basketball, Bubba should advocate whatever system benefits his school the most. In this case, the tournament as it is right now is a better proposition for UNC than 128 teams and an extra game on the road to the Final Four.

Aside from that, 128 teams is just a bad idea. Everyone who does bracket projections and discusses filling out the field is almost unanimous in the thought that there are not enough good teams now. Doubling the field or even going to 96 teams would be pointless. You are not adding teams that have a legitimate chance at winning the title but making the NCAA Tournament like the bowl system which is a joke for the number of mediocre/bad teams that get to play an extra game. Besides that, any expansion of the tournament at this stage would be a money grab pure and simple. The quality of the product would suffer greatly which is reason enough to leave it alone.

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