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ACC pushing for 72-team NCAA Tournament

The ACC is proposing several changes to NCAA basketball, with the biggest being another expansion of the NCAA Tournament

Syracuse v Arizona State Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images

What would have happened if the Syracuse Orange were in the NCAA Tournament in 2017? Would there have been another magical Sweet 16 run in them? It doesn’t really matter, but should the ACC have its way, we’ll be talking about the first four out teams of years past quite often.

The Herald Sun is reporting that the ACC wants to expand the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament by four teams, move back the 3-point line, widen the lane, and reset the shot clock to 20 seconds after an offensive rebound.

Now, that’s a lot of potential changes, but all things discussed previously if not by the conference, but in national conversation. In fact, John broke down what a 72-team tournament field would have looked like from 2011-17, after our “favorite” Bracketologist brought up this idea last summer. Not surprisingly, it helps out previously NIT-bound Syracuse Orange squads.

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament First Four-Syracuse vs. Arizona State Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

First, the whys: Lunardi suggested this as a way of getting more mid-major teams into the tournament, as there’s a pretty clear bias on selection committees to favor major conferences/names over actual bodies of work in close calls. In John’s 2017 breakdown, you see that on the whole, it’s actually bigger conferences getting the extra bids over these types of schools more often than not. Adding four more teams isn’t going to change the existing bias, it’s just going to give the committee more slots to exercise that bias, hence conferences like the ACC getting to flaunt more postseason success.

As for how this would be implemented? John Swoffard thinks that there should be two regional First Fours.

“The idea of having two First Fours, if you will, maybe geographic,” Swofford said. “That’s such a quick turnaround. You could have one maybe in Dayton and one in the western part of the states. But we will be proposing that.”

I’m not sure I love or hate this. On the one hand, more programs are competitive than ever, and rewarding more students for on court success seems natural. On the other hand, this is very clearly the NCAA and conferences realizing an opportunity for more ticket sales and television revenue, capitalizing on the draw that is the Tournament, regardless of the other motives paraded out.

Thoughts? Ideas for implementation outside of a second First Four? Let us know in the comments.