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Could conference realignment affect the Big Dance?


Mike Miller

Think a bigger NCAA tournament is a bad idea? Try this nightmare scenario:

Conference realignment turns into such a mess that all the schools in BCS conferences decide they’ve had enough with the NCAA. So they bolt to do their own thing. Once they’ve settled all their football needs, they form their own national basketball tournament.

Their. Own. Tournament.

No mid-major schools allowed. No scrappy underdogs. No David vs. Goliath. No March Madness.

The mere thought of it was enough to get Morehead State coach Donnie Tyndall talking about it over the weekend at the Kentucky Association of Basketball Coaches Clinic.

From the Lexington Herald-Leader:

“That’s scary from our perspective,” said Tyndall, before suggesting a moment later that his fears are probably groundless.

“I really don’t think, with the success mid-major programs have had, with Butler and VCU and teams like ourselves making a splash, that’s what makes the tournament so special. So I don’t think it’ll ever happen.”

Of course, Morehead State upset Louisville in last spring’s first weekend of the NCAA Tournament.

“But on the flip side, who would have ever thought that Pittsburgh and Syracuse will leave the Big East, and all this conference realignment would happen the way it is,” Tyndall said. “So, it’s scary.”

Sure is. However, it’d have to have numerous things fall into place and numerous people make incredibly bad decisions for it to even be considered, let alone actually happen. The Big Dance won’t be around forever, but as long all parties involved continue to make money, it’ll probably be safe.

As Butler coach Brad Stevens noted, “the first two to four days are the most talked about, most discussed sporting event in the world.” Going against that popularity and the buckets of cash involved would require incredible stupidity by people making decisions.

Maybe it’s not that inconceivable.

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