As I was thinking about this yearly rant, I wasn't going to post it, assuming i've probably done it in past years, but a quick check of the archives didn't turn it up so here goes. This "play-in" "opening round" game of theirs - Florida A & M and Niagara played in it last night - is the worst idea they've ever had. And it's borderline racist. Kids in schools too small, or too poor, or too uncompetitive in major sports, to participate in big conferences, work their butts off all year with the hope that they get to go to the big national tournament *that starts on Thursday.* Then 2 of the schools, having won and celebrated, get told that no, they have to jump one more hurdle and play one another 2 days earlier for the right to go.
They play in Dayton, OH. And of course nobody in the country cares or watches. Why would we? The setup is cruel and avoids an obvious solution that would be far better. If there is to be a play-off game *how about we make it to decide between some of the teams the whole country is currently arguing about.* The play-in should be between at-large teams, not automatic (non)qualifiers. They have a larger fan-base - crowds would actually travel. Money would actually be made. Maybe there should be 1 play-in per region. So right now, Syracuse and Arkansas, Drexel and Illinois, Air Force and Old Dominion, could settle things on the court for the right to be the 12 seed or whatever. More teams would be involved and the cruel turn of making 2 conference tourney champions go through another unexpected game is removed.