Is Expanding the Final Four a Good Idea?

In the National Basketball Association, it takes seven games to determine the best collection of professionals in the world. Seven games featuring LeBron’s cramps and one of the youngest NBA Finals MVP’s of all time in Kawhi Leonard.

Now imagine three games of Frank Kaminsky going toe-to-toe with Jahlil Okafor. Three games to end the college basketball season with a definitive “greatest team.”

At the conclusion of this year’s tournament, the question of expanding the final two rounds of March Madness to best of three series has been posed (that’s a potential four extra games for those keeping track).

Like the college football playoff system before this, changes like this will happen slowly as everyone with a big head and an opinion will do their fair share of evaluation.

Compiled below are the great determinants. All arguments made come with the assumption that by expanding the Final Four ultimately will result in the better team eventually winning (this will not always happen but it certainly isn’t the norm either).

What could make this happen:

  • March Madness remains one of the most popular sporting events in the US every year, who doesn’t want to see more of it?
  • To the point above, if any sport could get away with expanding the playoffs, its college basketball.
  • After watching Okafor’s early foul trouble and lackluster performance as a result, who doesn’t want to him respond by facing Kaminsky again the next day? Okafor surely wouldn’t repeat that performance.
  • Naturally, rivalries would develop between teams like Wisconsin and Kentucky, who otherwise wouldn’t see very much of each other.
  • Advertisers are in line to make that much more money. More games equal more ad space, which equals more money. Money is good.
  • Kentucky fans are bitter (and a huge part of the college basketball culture). Angry, impassioned fans certainly won’t slow the change especially when they feel they had the best team.
  • It would hopefully nullify officiating miscues over the course of a three game series (I only mention this based on the lackluster performance from the zebras last weekend).

What will stop this from happening:

  • The most exciting aspect of the tournament remains the “one and done” system in place. The best teams may not always win but they win nonetheless. As Wisconsin proved, they only needed to be better than Kentucky for forty minutes on one day.
  • Those concerned with “player fatigue” and other silly things will surely slow down changes.
  • Do fans really want to see the best team win or do we all prefer the thrill of the David bringing down Goliath?

Win or go home; a system that often times does not determine the single best team but rather, the best team on a given day. That is the system that will likely remain, but it’s always fun to speculate.

What if the University of Kentucky had three games to show Wisconsin, and the country, they were the team deserving of a shot at the National Title. Maybe Duke still wins the whole thing.

For now, Duke reigns over the college basketball world; still possibly relieved they didn’t have to face the Wildcats. Would have been too much blue, anyway.

*Section Photo credit to Matt Detrich, The Star; Featured Photo (above) credit to chatsports.com

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