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Insider

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

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).