"Proposed" in the sense that it will never be considered by anyone in a position of power.
I've grown less interested in the tournament over the past few years and it seems more and more like a random crapshoot. Remember when Duke over UNLV was a huge upset? And we were a 2-seed! Nowadays I'm not that surprised if a 13 tops a 4. Parity isn't going away, but we could at least reward the regular season a bit and add some meaning to conference tournaments. Here's my proposal.
- 48 team field (this gives 16 teams byes, conferences with automatic bids would be reviewed and narrowed)
- Teams ranked 1-32 by the committee are bye-eligible
- Going from 1-32, teams are awarded byes IF they won their conference tournament OR conference regular season
- If the 16 byes aren't filled with conference champions, the top ranked remaining teams (1-32 again) are awarded byes
- The order of being awarded a bye is your new rank and affects your seed
- 1st/2nd round site location determined by proximity to bye teams (going from 1-16)
Some expected ramifications:
- Obviously tougher to get in the tournament
- Conference tournaments in power conferences would be intense for byes and resting in the conference tournament wouldn't make sense unless you won the regular season
- NCAA Tournament takes on the feel of 16 heavyweights vs. a bunch of other good teams so knocking of one of the 16 would be very meaningful