If we need to expand, here's how to do it

Originally Published: April 5, 2007
By Joe Lunardi | Special to ESPN.com
Every year, it seems, the call to expand the NCAA Tournament field gets louder. This year NCAA president Myles Brand was the highest-level official to at least address the possibility.

So, before we go any further, I wouldn't do it (expand the tournament, that is). If I were king, the first thing I'd do is go in the opposite direction and eliminate the current opening-round game. This return to the original 64-team field would decrease the number of at-large bids from 34 to 33, but my bias has and will always be toward rewarding automatic qualifiers. To me, the opening-round game is like a zit on Scarlett Johansson -- an unfortunate blemish on an otherwise perfect product.

Practically, I have always argued against the BCS by stating that it intentionally excludes teams that are capable of winning a national championship. We do not need to expand the NCAA Tournament field to avoid repeating this problem in college basketball. Roughly 20 percent of Division I takes part in the tournament as is, a more than fair ratio of contenders to pretenders (especially when considering that all but the Ivy League and Division I independents are de facto participants via the existing conference tournaments).

Joe Lunardi | email

Senior Writer, ESPN.com