Even though I've missed a fair bit of this year's tournament having been out of the country for Spring Break, I still have a few things I'd like to discuss regarding changes that happened while I was living in India...
- the play-in games and opening rounds. I'm a March Madness purist - there are 64 teams who participate in the tournament, and the first round begins on Thursday. period. none of this business with the play-in games - all 4 of them! - being counted as the first round. if you want to do that, expand the tournament and still have the opening rounds on Thursday. otherwise go back to the way it was.
- networks. what's up with the games being broadcast on 3 or 4 different networks? when I left for Bangalore, CBS showed all the games. part of the beauty of the opening weekend of the tournament was that there was never a down moment - when one game went to a commercial or had halftime, it switched to a different game in progress. that was the whole point of staggering the starting times of the games. that, and not having to sit through a halftime report until the Elite 8.
I know all of these changes are being driven by money - everyone wants more money, and the tournament can make more money with extra games and with additional networks paying to broadcast games. But that doesn't make it right or ok with me.
I love my March Madness, and I miss its simplicity.