College Basketball Touraments: Less is More

Ben GibsonSenior Analyst IMarch 3, 2009

It's a pressure-filled few weeks coming up for the Richmond Spiders men's basketball team.

The Spiders have had a bunch of ups and downs this season in the A-10, but now it all comes down to the conference tournament.

The last proving ground to show your merit to the country is on the horizon.

Can Coach Mooney and his boys secure a spot in the field?

Oh, I'm not talking about the NCAA tournament.  Are you kidding me? 

The Spiders are only 15-14, unless they have a miracle run they are not going to see Greg Gumbel and Clark Kellogg debating the size of their Cinderella shoes.

Don't fret though, the Spiders can still make postseason play.

Last year Richmond played in the inaugural College Basketball Invitational, losing in the opening round to the Virginia Cavaliers. 

If NIT stands for Not Invited Teams, I wonder what the CBI really stands for.

Could Be Irrelevant?

Crappy Basketball Inside?

I mean really, has it come to the point that the NIT has become too selective?

It looks like after years of whining coaches demanding the NCAA tournament be expanded in order to save their jobs, the middle tier of the power conferences has come up with an ace in the hole.

After all, when one door closes another one opens.

Basketball is supposed to stand apart from college football in that, we don't celebrate mediocrity.

In football, for example, all you have to do is go 6-6 and get your invitation to the first annual Olive Garden Bowl featuring free bread sticks for a year to all players.

Okay maybe not, but that actually sounds like a pretty good deal.

In basketball, only two teams (NIT and NCAA Champions) got to end their season with a win.

Well, now we're expanding that numbers more and more because if the CBI was not enough, we now have yet another postseason tournament.

Yeah, I wish I were kidding about this too but I'm not.

The 16-team Tournament is here to save the day for more mediocre mid-major basketball teams!

So after the NCAA takes the top 65 teams and the NIT pick away at the next best 32, then the next 16 best teams will get their chance to proclaim proudly that they are the 98th best team in the country.

"We're No. 98" just doesn't have the same ring though does it?

Folks, the CBI barely could pull together enough teams last year.  Reports were that some actually rejected the invitation, rather calling it a season than participating in this joke of a tournament.

Can the Postseason Tournament really hope for a better fate?

In an economy where even the mighty ACC had to sell off tickets to the public for the first time in decades, can we really expect teams like Richmond to convince their fans to dish out the cash to watch their team take down other .500 basketball teams?

Folks, you can argue on whether or not the NCAA tournament should be expanded (although it shouldn't), but can we all agree these extraneous tournaments need to stop?

I understand that the extra practices help towards next season and I know that even meaningless tournament wins can help the confidence of a program but do you really want your favorite school to be lifting the CPT banner in the Fall of 2009?

We need to remember what makes college basketball so special, it is a system that rewards the winners and punishes the losers.

Sorry that we live in an era where every kid gets a trophy and everyone is an all-star but when teams with losing records make it into the postseason we have begun to lose our minds.

Call me crazy but I like my madness kept to around 65 teams...not 129.


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