By: David K.
Last weekend, ESPN featured their “Bracket Buster” day in which some of the best mid-major teams went head-to-head as to make a statement to the committee come Selection Sunday. This got me thinking (which is always dangerous when it involves college basketball.) What if there was a true Bracket Buster day featuring the major conferences? This would give the committee a true look at which of the real bubble teams deserve to be dancing.
Here is how it would play out:
First, I would try to get all six of the BCS conferences to be eligible (Big East, Big Ten, ACC, SEC, Big 12, and Pac-10), as well as the Atlantic 10, Conference USA, and Mountain West which always seem to have a couple teams on the bubble.
Of course, it would be quite the task to get those nine conferences to agree before the season on setting a day in which of all of their teams were off to possibly be included in the Bracket Buster (BB) game. So you would have to agree on a day and then a few weeks beforehand, pick the teams that appear to be bubble teams come tourney time to participate in the BB. That time span would be needed to arrange travel and allow your fans a chance to get tickets so they could see the game.
Making this idea even more difficult is my belief that any home court advantage should be eliminated because the game would clearly favor the home school. Therefore, you pick eight neutral sites spread throughout the country that could host a game as well as draw a decent crowd to make the event financially beneficial, which in this day of age is always a major factor. And again why having regional seeding would be necessary. Since bigger NBA-type arenas would be preferred, you would have to make sure the venue is not being used that day or plan an early afternoon game so as to not interfere with the already scheduled event.
You then pick 16 teams that are considered “on the bubble” and strategically place them in the designated neutral sites based on location. There would be rules where you cannot play a team in your conference or a team that you have already played earlier in the season on the BB day.
Charlotte (Time Warner Cable Arena, Bobcats home court)
Atlanta (Phillips Arena, Hawks home court)
Indianapolis (Conseco Fieldhouse, Pacers home court)
Chicago (All-State Arena, DePaul’s home court)
Denver (Pepsi Center, Nuggets home court)
San Antonio (Alamo, Spurs home court)
Sacramento (Arco Arena, Kings home court)
Now you place the 16 bubble-type teams in the pre-determined venues:
Penn St. vs. Providence
Virginia Tech vs. Temple
Tennessee vs. Miami (FL)
Cincinnati vs. Michigan
Wisconsin vs. Notre Dame
Kansas State vs. BYU
Oklahoma State vs. UAB
USC vs. San Diego St.
A couple bubble-caliber teams would be left out like Georgetown, Texas A&M, and Maryland, but I think adding a ninth or tenth game would be too much.
The biggest advantage to creating a BB day for the big conferences would be to have one program prove without a doubt that they are better than the other in case it comes down to choosing one school over the other. It would also serve as an indicator of strengths of conference. For example, if the four Big East schools went undefeated and the three Big Ten schools did not win a game, you should favor a Big East school instead of a Big Ten school come selection time.
The odds of this actually happening are probably 1-100,000. But with the amount of debate that is now rampant during two months prior to Selection Sunday about bubble teams, RPIs, strengths of schedules, bad losses, and good wins, this would serve as a definitive determining factor of why to pick one bubble team over another.Follow paulmbanks