The NCAA announced Monday that the Men’s Basketball Tournament will switch to a new format starting in 2015. The current 68-team tournament will be switched to a 4-team playoff dubbed the “College Basketball Playoff,” according to NCAA president Mark Emmert. “Internal studies concluded that college football really has something great going with its new 4-team playoff system, and we believe it is a model that could be very beneficial for college basketball moving forward,” Emmert said at the press conference announcing the change. “There are simply too many teams in the current format, and in many years the best teams don’t win because there are too many upsets in the earlier rounds,” Emmert commented. “This is clearly the best way to determine a champion, I tip my hat to football for getting it right all these years.”
The four teams will be selected by a ten person committee headed by Utah State Athletic Director Scott Barnes, who was named head of the selection committee before the change in format was announced. “The fact is that our committee is very well prepared and will be able to select the best four teams for the national semifinals in a way that a 68-team bracket just can’t measure up to,” Barnes said in his media address. “The regular season of college basketball needs to be weighted more heavily as the tournament gives an unfair advantage to lower seeded teams who shouldn’t even be in the tournament in the first place,” Barnes stated,.“The excessive number of games in the old format is simply redundant and unnecessary.”
Emmert also explained some of the secondary benefits of the new system, such as the fact that teams, cheerleaders and band members miss important time they could be spending in school. Reducing the number of teams and games in the tournament will keep many students in the classroom during March. “The bottom line is that this is the fairest system for basketball, determining the best teams in a selection committee room based on performance and not during a three-week long tournament held on the court,” Emmert concluded.
If the College Basketball Playoff would have been implemented this year the national semifinals would pit Florida versus Virginia and Arizona versus Wichita State with the two winners facing off in the national title game.