Selection Sunday is a holy day of obligation for college basketball fans. It is the day when all is revealed about the NCAA Tournament and the true fun can commence. It is the quiet eye of the hurricane with one side being a hectic week of conference tournaments and the other being the extravaganza that is the NCAA tournament.
The NCAA attempted to enhance some of that amusement with their most recent announcement. On February 11th, they will reveal a mid-season version bracket. The top 16 teams will see where they are per the committee.
So what does this actually do?
Honestly, it really does nothing.
There is not much information to really get fans talking since the all-important bubble teams are not included in the mid-season reveal.
When asked about the move, Xavier University coach Chris Mack called it ridiculous, among other adjectives.
“If you want, why don’t you show the teams that are on the bubble? That’s more intriguing,” Mack said. “Who cares if Kentucky is a one seed or a two seed?”
Mack’s poignant comments get to the heart of this move’s hypocrisy.
CBS will have show looking at current top 16 NCAA tourney seeds Feb 11. Chris Mack had a 2-minute glorious adjective-laced response. Enjoy. pic.twitter.com/EfE7zmtU4E
— Jeremy Rauch (@FOX19Jeremy) January 25, 2017
The NCAA is attempting to create a buzz around the sport earlier than usual, but is not revealing information that will spark anything. College basketball fans do not sit for hours upon end and debate why teams are a three seed instead of a four seed. All this does is tell us who may or may not be in the top 16 seeds which really does not merit a conversation.
On top of the fact that there is so much basketball left to play, it simply is not controversial and thus not what will spark conversation among fans. The thing about controversy is that it creates a palpable buzz. You want more controversy, not less of it, to a certain extent.
A good case study is the 2016 Syracuse Orangemen. Jim Boeheim’s squad was considered an outsider at best to make the NCAA field. In a highly questionable move, the committee gave them one of the 68 entry tickets.
This was so controversial that committee chair Joe Castiglione made a statement about their reasoning. The debate then became whether Syracuse’s Final Four run proved they merited entry or if they never should have been permitted to begin with.
This is what gets people talking, not unnecessary, meaningless updates.
Finally, what happened to good things coming to those who wait? Selection Sunday is the end of the road from a long season of build up. It is the culmination of all of the fear and anxiety that bubble teams go through. It is the one day that we wait for to kick things off.
Why divide our attention to two days? Why taint or spoil the momentum that leads into the first week of March?
There is no reason to change what is working. The NCAA should not look at expanding the tournament. They should not look at elongating the Selection Show. Things are fine the way they are. We already have the greatest month-long spectacle in sports, there is no need to ruin it.