The “First Four”: Play-in games set for final tickets to the dance

Posted: March 13, 2011 by Dan Condie in NCAA Football
Tags: , , , , , ,

As usual, there will be a play-in game between 2 lower tier automatic qualifying teams for a final spot in the NCAA Tournament as a 16 seed. This season, however, the NCAA has chosen to include 3 more teams into the tournament that normally would have been on the outside looking in.

So this year, there will be a total of 4 play-in games instead of 1, but the strange thing is, 2 games will be for #16 seeds, the other 2 will be for a #11 and a #12 seed. This just doesn’t make sense to me.

I understand that the 3 extra spots are at-large bids that normally would not be given so they should have to play their way in to the tournament. Well, if that’s the case, how come the last 2 #10 seeds to get in, under the old rules, don’t have to play their way in and 2 bottom tier auto-qualifiers from the Big Sky or the Sun Belt do?

So, what I think they should have done is to take the teams that normally would be #16 seeds and have them play against the (would be) #15 seeds for the last 4 spots as the #16 seeds and the new at-larges just take their spots as #11 seeds and everyone else slides down.

This way, the #11 seed that normally would have made the cut last year isn’t penalized by having to play another at-large team of equal talent before the tourney even starts.

I’m sure this will be realized and rectified by next season.

  1. Chris says:

    My guess is they did it this way because some of the automatic qualifiers go #16 seeds and they didn’t feel like they could require “automatic qualifiers” to play a play-in game. This new scheme didn’t solve anything either. There are still teams on the outside feeling like they got treated unfairly by not being invited to the dance (e.g., Colorado University). Set the tourney at 64 or 128 teams so that everyone plays the same number of games and there are none of these play-in games. The current system doesn’t make any sense.

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