[Source] - If all of that goes away for the 2020-21 season and only league games are contested for the sake of time or safety or both, Tulsa coach Frank Haith suggested to Sporting News that consideration should be given to expanding the NCAA Tournament to 96 teams — just this once — because of the impact the COVID-19 pandemic is having on intercollegiate athletics.
It is those events and so many other non-conference games that annually establish which high-major conferences are most powerful in a given season and which mid-major teams are punching above their weight class and thus which might belong in the NCAA Tournament if they succeed in league play.
Let me be very clear about a couple things here. First, I'm all for leagues trying different things during coronavirus and these weird times. It's the perfect time to try whatever you wanted but was scared of how fans would react. Now? Everyone just wants to watch sports that it doesn't really mean shit if you do something a bit different. So I'm all for listening to ideas and hearing different ideas for how to adjust or change something.
Second, all those things said about wanting to try different shit, that's not true with the NCAA Tournament. Fuck this move to 96 team tournament. I hate that so much. Yes, nonconference is important, but you know what's better? Not having 96 teams in the NCAA Tournament. It's not needed. You can tell who are the 32 best teams after the 36 automatic bids based on 20 games. Maybe just start using people besides AD's for your committee. Maybe get people who pay attention to the entire sport and watch most of the games and can use both the eye test and the sheet.
68 teams is plenty. Let's be honest, how many teams legit have a chance to win 6 games in a row each year? You're talking about 7-8ish typically. That's not going to be the teams that are seeded like 75th. Not at all. Can they get hot and win a couple games? Sure, look at Loyola, VCU, George Mason, etc. But let's not pretend like we're keeping a national title contender out if it's a 20 game regular season and 68 team Tournament.
So I appreciate that Frank Haith and others are willing to talk about different ideas, this is just one to pass on. There's something perfect about the NCAA Tournament set up. Three weeks, the Thursday-Sunday followed by Final Four/title game Monday. Just keep that. Let's not overthink things just because you're typically always on the bubble.