NCAA tourney expansion ‘always on the list of topics’

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Not again.

Last spring and summer were filled with chatter and fears about the NCAA tournament expanding tor 96 teams.  The result was ultimately this year’s version of the 68-team tournament, which features three additional teams and the debut of the “First Four.”

Yet there was always concern the NCAA would eventually go to 96 teams.

 NCAA vice president Greg Shaheen did nothing to quash those fears Tuesday, saying expansion is “always on the list of topics.”

“We’re always going to be looking at what’s the best way to contest the championship,” Shaheen said. “Sixty-eight is certainly a start, and where it goes from here is anyone’s guess.”

This year’s tournament also features changes to the TV format. CBS partnered with Turner Broadcasting on a 14-year, $10.8 billion deal. Every game will be on CBS, TBS, TNT or TruTV.

But instead of TV demands pushing the tournament to eventually expand to 96, analyst Greg Anthony says parity will ultimately be the reason the tournament expands.

“Ultimately you’re going to see this thing go to 96, and the reason is because there’s more parity,” said Anthony, who starred at UNLV from 1988-91.

“I think you’re expanding because you have far more competitive teams than you used to have,” Anthony said. “When I was in school, we’d never lose to Montana or BYU or San Diego State, but these teams now, not only are they winning, they’re highly regarded.”

Ah. Right. Expand the tournament because of parity! It’ll make for entertaining games, but a good tournament? That’s another story.

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