96-Team NCAA Tournament Capsule

Posted by zhayes9 on February 3rd, 2010

The recent report from Sports by Brooks relaying information from an insider ESPN source claiming NCAA Tournament expansion to 68 or 96 teams was a “done deal” caused tremendous frustration and anxiety amongst college basketball diehard fans and followers. The complaints are numerous and completely fair: the regular season would be rendered basically meaningless, the conference tournaments utterly ruined, the NCAA tournament field watered down to the point of being a joke. Fans are irate at the thought of destroying the greatest sporting event known to man. To confirm just how ridiculous the bracket would be if the tournament expands by 31 teams, here’s the rough layout of which teams would be dancing in a hypothetical 96-team field if the season ended today:

That's One Sad Bracket

Teams very comfortably in the field (#65-#73)

  • #65: Connecticut– 13-9 (3-6), 0-5 in true road games, 2-6 vs. RPI top 50
  • #66: South Carolina– 13-8 (4-3), losses to Miami and Wofford, 1-4 vs. RPI top 50
  • #67: Maryland– 14-6 (4-2), best non-conf win at Indiana, 1-6 vs. RPI top 50
  • #68: Wichita State– 19-4 (8-3), #164 SOS and #330 non-conf SOS, 3 losses vs. sub RPI top 100
  • #69: Tulsa– 17-4 (6-1), #62 RPI and #178 SOS, 1 win vs. RPI top 100
  • #70: North Carolina– 13-8 (2-4), #75 RPI, 1-6 vs. RPI top 50, only road win at NC State
  • #71: Mississippi State– 16-5 (4-2), #65 RPI and #167 SOS, 3 wins vs. RPI top 100, lost to Rider
  • #72: Illinois- 14-8 (6-3), #79 RPI, 2-4 vs. RPI top 50, losses to Bradley and Utah on neutral courts
  • #73: William & Mary– 15-6 (7-4), four losses in CAA including UNC-Wilmington, lost 3 of 4

Teams fairly comfortably in the field (#74-#82)

  • #74: Minnesota– 13-8 (4-5), #61 RPI, 3-7 vs. RPI top 100, losses to Indiana and Portland
  • #75: San Diego State– 16-6 (5-3), 2-5 vs. RPI top 50, losses to Pacific and Wyoming
  • #76: Virginia– 13-6 (4-2), #87 RPI and #118 SOS, losses to Penn State, Auburn, USF and Penn State
  • #77: South Florida– 14-7 (4-5), #207 non-conf SOS, 1-4 vs. RPI top 50
  • #78: Seton Hall– 12-8 (3-6), #174 non-conf SOS, 1-5 vs. RPI top 25, 8 losses overall
  • #79: Northwestern– 15-7 (4-6), 3-7 vs. RPI top 100, #246 non-conf SOS, 6 losses in Big 10 play
  • #80: Virginia Tech– 16-4 (3-3), #74 RPI and #255 SOS, #345 non-conf SOS, 0-2 vs. RPI top 50
  • #81: UTEP– 15-5 (6-1), #72 RPI and #141 SOS, 1-3 vs. RPI top 50, best non-conf win at NM St.
  • #82: Texas Tech– 14-7 (2-5), 0-7 vs. RPI top 50, best non-conf win vs. Wash, best conf win vs. Oklahoma

Teams that are bubble-in (#83-92)

  • #83: Notre Dame– 15-7 (4-5), 1-4 vs. RPI top 50, #69 RPI, losses to Rutgers and Loyola Marymount
  • #84: Memphis– 15-6 (5-2), #77 RPI and #126 SOS, 0-3 vs. RPI top 50
  • #85: VCU– 15-5 (7-4), 4 losses in CAA, #152 SOS, lost at Western Michigan, swept by Northeastern
  • #86: Washington– 14-7 (4-5), losing record in horrid Pac-10, 2 wins vs. RPI top 50, 0-5 in true road games
  • #87: Arizona State– 15-7 (5-4), 4 losses in horrid Pac-10, #86 RPI and #102 SOS, 1-4 vs. RPI top 50
  • #88: Northeastern– 15-8 (10-2), 1-3 vs. RPI top 50, best non-conf wins over Utah State and Kent State
  • #89: Utah State– 16-6 (6-2), #104 SOS, 1-1 vs. RPI top 50, lost to Long Beach State
  • #90: Louisiana Tech– 18-4 (6-2), #73 RPI and #261 SOS, #324 non-conf SOS, 0 wins vs. RPI top 50
  • #91: Harvard– 14-4 (3-1), #68 RPI and #274 SOS, #233 non-conf SOS, 2-3 vs. RPI top 100
  • #92: NC State– 14-8 (2-5), #107 RPI, #303 non-conf SOS, 3-8 vs. RPI top 100

Teams that are last four in (#93-96)

  • #93: Alabama– 13-8 (3-4), #97 RPI, 1-6 vs. RPI top 50, lost to Auburn and Arkansas
  • #94: Miami (FL)– 16-6 (2-6), #85 RPI and #186 SOS, #342 non-conf SOS, 1-1 vs. RPI top 50, 6 conf L’s
  • #95: Nevada– 13-8 (5-3), 0-2 vs. RPI top 50, fourth place in WAC, #67 RPI, losses to Pacific and Fresno St
  • #96: Boston College– 12-10 (3-5), #98 RPI, 10 overall losses, lost to Maine and Harvard at home

Teams that are last four out (#97-100)

  • #97: Oklahoma– 12-9 (3-4), #88 RPI, 3-6 vs. RPI top 100, losses to San Diego, Houston and Nebraska
  • #98: St. John’s– 12-9 (2-7), #78 RPI, seven losses in Big East play, blown out by Rutgers, lost 8 of 11
  • #99: Western Carolina– 17-5 (7-3), tied for second in SoCon, #218 SOS, lost to Chattanooga and Appalachian State
  • #100: George Mason– 15-7 (10-1), #103 RPI and #205 SOS, losses to Radford, Tulane and George Washington

Note the following conference representations in the field of 96 teams.

  • ACC12 teams – that’s right, all 12 ACC teams would be invited to the new Dance. 
  • Big East12 teams – only Rutgers, St. John’s, DePaul and Providence are left out.
  • Big 128 teams – Oklahoma, Iowa State, Nebraska and Colorado left home.
  • Big 10 – 7 teams – Indiana, Penn State, Iowa and Michgan are out.
  • Pac-10 – 3 teams – historically bad league gets three in this way (instead of one). 
  • SEC – 8 teams – only the dregs — Georgia, Auburn, Arkansas and LSU — stay home.

All in all, the BCS conferences would add twenty more teams to the mix, and a total of 68% of them would make the NCAA Tournament (and this number would normally be higher if the Pac-10 wasn’t so terrible this year). 

But by all means, expand the field!

zhayes9 (301 Posts)

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15 responses to “96-Team NCAA Tournament Capsule”

  1. Tom says:

    I hate the NCAA. This is unbelievable.

  2. JR says:

    Excellent post. I appreciate the effort to show the absurdity of this. I think the other crucial point is that nearly every conference has a play in to the tournament already set up in the conference tournament (get your weight up, Ivy). So you could lose all your games, win 4-5 at the right time and get into the tournament.

    The conference tournaments is effectively an extension of the tournament already. No need to mess with what it is now.

    (Although I am sure this is what they said when they expanded from 32-64)

  3. OH MY GOD.

    This would absolutely ruin everything about the tournament for me. Like, to the point I wouldn’t watch college basketball ever again. I only have a limited amount of time to watch sports, and I would rather watch the NBA than watch a watered-down, neutered NCAA.

  4. Brian says:

    I echo what JR said. What a joke this would be, all it does is reward mediocrity in the “everyone gets a trophy” age we live in. Sad.

  5. rtmsf says:

    I think it’s worth adding that even if the NCAA uses the regular season champion rule that the NIT now has in place, you might add another 6-12 teams to replace the bottom of this list. That would still mean that teams like Notre Dame, Washington and Arizona State would be at-large teams. Which is ridiculous given their resumes.

  6. G. Floyd says:

    Completely agree. As a NCSU fan there is no reason why NC State, Boston College, or Miami should have a shot at the NCAA Tournament this year. How does this make the NCAA Tournament an accomplishment?

  7. Howard says:

    If they are going to do that–eliminate all conference tournaments(I know a pipe dream given the money generated) and allow all 360 some odd teams in the tourney. If done properly would only add another weekend. Ah-but then who would complain and how could college ADs and Pres. justify firing coahces. “Yes we were 2-24 but we made the tournament!”

  8. Dave Fortay says:

    If they go to 96 teams they should have a rule against any team with a sub .500 conference record from getting in. Because I agree 100%, no way the ACC which is awful this year deserves all 12 teams to get in. They barely deserve 6 in the current field. Adding more mid majors wouldn’t be the worst thing, but 96 is too many.,

  9. Adam says:

    Dave — really? The ACC is awful this year, and yet have the best conference top to bottom in the NCAA? There’s a reason why 7 will get into the real tournament and all 12 would get into this 96 team debacle — it’s a great conference.

  10. rtmsf says:

    Adam, you might be mistaking conference-wide mediocrity for strength. There are no truly awful teams in the ACC this year, but there are no elite teams either. Duke is borderline, and after that, there’s nobody else that can reasonably argue for even a protected seed.

  11. Jim says:

    Nonsense. The NIT, which is basically the next 32 teams, took more non BCS than BCS teams. If the tournament expanded, the majority of additional teams would NOT be from the BCS conferences. No way would they do this.

    This isn’t like football bowl games where they take crap teams because they travel well. The tournament is already sold out so that isn’t needed to boost ticket sales. The expansion gives mid major teams a chance to get involved. If you look at the RPI right past the teams projected to go, the next 32 teams have about 19 non BCS teams and 13 BCS teams.

    The idea, like that above, that NC State would go, is absurd. They might take a few teams that are barely below .500 in their league, but they aren’t going to take teams that have a .400 winning percentage in league. Just absurd analysis.


  12. rtmsf says:

    Jim, if you really believe that tourney expansion is intended to help the mid-majors, then I’ve got some warm beachfront property in Montana I’d like to show ya. Our analysis was merely an extension of how the NCAA is currently configured for 65 teams. The next best 31 teams would be taken. The Committee has been quite clear about his over the years. Why would they change this now?

    As for ticket sales, that’s a drop in the bucket. What moves this needle is tv ratings, and teams like NC State have far bigger fan followings than teams like St. Mary’s. The issue is television revenue, not ticket sales.

    And we accounted for the NIT rule if they say that regular season champs must be included as well. You’d still end up with teams in the 80s that are pretty weak overall.

  13. Troy says:

    Seems that there are two issues at play. One is looking to reward regular season conference champions, the other is to expand the field. Seems like the ability to reward the regular season conference champion would only necessitate 10-12 additional spots each year, not 32. If you expand the field, it is as you point out, an advantage for the larger conferences, not just because of the number of teams that get in, but also their seeds. It means that the 32 teams with byes would largely be from the big conferences, with small schools left to pick each other off in the first round.

    Best suggestion I’ve heard is add play-in games for 16 more bubble teams, who play-in and get seeded 10-13 in the tournament. Seeds 1-9 are the best teams from around the country, and seeds 14-16 are regular season and conference champs from the smaller conferences. I don’t think the NIT or CBI would be happy, but it is better than the full 96.

  14. Rick says:

    I hate hate hate this idea. it would make the ncaa tournament—-which is probably 20 teams too big as it is—–completely ridiculous and worthless.

    it’s all about money and markets. god damn i hate corporations and how they ruin everything.

  15. […] way Michigan is going right now a NIT berth ain’t even looking too good. As of February 3rd Rush the Court did not have Michigan in its hypothetical 96 team field, basically meaning that Michigan isn’t even in line for a […]

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