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amherstblackbear
03-26-2011, 03:58 PM
Again, that's mostly what it used to be, and it was a bigger recipe for success than the current format. A couple of teams used to get sent East or West but that was it. It wasn't "balanced" to "protect the integrity" of the brackets which is garbage anyway when there's not enough interest to sustain their current format AND hosting schools like UNH get to stay home despite not really being "deserving" of that honor.


I don't remember the exact rule - it's been too long. But it wasn't random which teams got sent west/east. The top teams stayed in their region. Having a couple out of region teams was just a bonus. You got the best of both worlds: a critical mass of good teams from the region, and a couple teams from out west/east to spice things up.

Caustic Undertow
03-26-2011, 04:26 PM
As far as your "typical"/"non typical" fans goes -- my belief is that a lot of college hockey fans follow this sport beyond their own team more than fans of other sports.

I completely disagree with this point. Granted most of the people here do, but national attention to the sport is significantly reduced compared to that of other teams. This is easy to understand: There simply isn't any national media attention paid to college hockey, and it is difficult or impossible to actually see other teams play.

Contrast this with college football or basketball, where even casual fans of those teams can learn about, see highlights of, and understand what teams and players are significant. It takes zero effort for me to understand that guys like Kemba Walker, Jimmer Fredette, and Derrick Williams are great players in the NCAA basketball tournament, even though I'm not a huge basketball fan.

In contrast, you have to look at stat sheets and scrounge for highlights to understand anything about players outside of your own circle. Most fans in the arenas follow their own team, might listen to them on the radio, and know something about their own conference, but to know what's going on in another region is nearly impossible. That's part of why we have such petty regional rivalry in college hockey--people see their own teams and naturally believe they're the best, because they know nothing about the other side.

Good example of this, which Alton will remember: A handful of Michigan fans who were active on USCHO were at a Michigan hockey game against Ohio State in Columbus. Ohio State draws well for UM, and there were probably 10,000 or so in the arena. For the first time in my memory, an arena posted scores from out of conference: the scores to the first round of the Hockey East playoffs. Maine and CC were the top two teams in the country all season that year, so when we saw that UMass had beaten Maine in game 1 of the playoffs, we were absolutely blown away.

And we were the only people in the arena who understood what that meant.

It's not just that there were a lot of casual OSU fans there; it wouldn't be much different in Wisconsin, or in Boston. There are core fans who love the game, and there are a lot of fans who follow their own team.

And for what it's worth, those core fans who go to the FF are hard to get to travel precisely because they are about to make a trip to the FF that they already have planned. More on this issue momentarily.

Caustic Undertow
03-26-2011, 04:40 PM
As for my position on the issue, I agree (as usual) with Alton.

I used to like the idea of 8-team super regionals, and advocated that idea when the tournament expanded to 16 games. The problems Alton brought up are real, however. A 3-day weekend is hard to ask people to attend, and both regionals would be forced to have Sunday finals. Sundays are proven to be problematic; last year's regional final in Fort Wayne between Michigan and Miami went late into the evening, and attendance was hamstrung by the unwillingness of fans of either team to drive a couple hours and pay a lot of money when they had to drive back and get to work the next day. Suggesting that you would have to pay for six games, block out a 4-day weekend, and pay for lodging, when your team has a good chance of being home by late Friday night, is difficult.

Additionally, regionals continue to be placed where one team may get an "unfair" advantage precisely because they want some fans in the seats. People complain about this every year, especially when the lower seed gets the advantage of fans. Michigan has no chance at another regional entirely because Yost is so loud and intimidating that they have never been eliminated when playing at home--and 3 top seeds with serious national title aspirations have felt its wrath.

Yet those regionals were legendary. Because there were fans there, and they were enthusiastic. In a win-or-go home format, the energy at home rinks is multiplied. The problem wasn't the fans, it was that a lower seed had the advantage. Home site series would solve this; the high seeds get the advantage. That doesn't mean they are guaranteed to win (BC would have been just as scorched at Conte) but it does mean that a high ranking has more importance.

I loved the 6-team regionals, but in my opinion the decade of 4-team regionals has been almost a complete failure. And trying to promote them as exciting only hurts the credibility of the sport; when a fan watches something after hearing about how exciting it is, if they find it to be unexciting even to its own fans they write it off. These empty regionals are embarrassing. People complain about ESPN, but ESPN will show the occasional college hockey highlight and it looks much better when a full house is going crazy about a game--it shows the outsider "this is something worth getting excited about."

There is always at least a regional or two that is a complete attendance disaster, and regionals that aren't often feature games like today's #4 UNH home ice advantage against #1 Miami.

If the goal is fairness, give the higher seeded teams home ice. If the goals is attendance, give the higher seeded teams home ice. If the goal is excitement, give the higher seeded teams home ice. If the goal is selling the sport to a wider audience, give the higher seeded teams home ice.

If the goal is neutral ice, play in a practice rink and ban the fans.

Pump It Up
03-26-2011, 04:55 PM
I may be remembering wrong, but having the Regional at the X last year did not mean it had good attendance. In fact I thought attendance was thought of as pretty poor in St. Paul.

I may be completely wrong...but if I am right then having it in traditional markets is no guarantee either. The sites are just too ****ed big.

I was there. SCSU is only slightly over an hour away and Madison is an easy drive on 94 West, but attendance was sparse. Upper bowl was completely empty and even on the sides of the lower bowl there were many entire empty rows.

The problems were twofold: many people (specifically students) were priced out, I think I walked up to the box office for the championship and paid 40ish dollars for a single game ticket. Secondly, I'm sure many Badgers and Huskies fans had spent their hard earned dollars watching their teams the week before in the Final Five at the same venue.

HockeyMan2000
03-26-2011, 05:00 PM
I may be remembering wrong, but having the Regional at the X last year did not mean it had good attendance. In fact I thought attendance was thought of as pretty poor in St. Paul.

I may be completely wrong...but if I am right then having it in traditional markets is no guarantee either. The sites are just too ****ed big.

No, you're right, which is more evidence of why this format just isn't working.

billmich88888
03-26-2011, 05:04 PM
I don't remember the exact rule - it's been too long. But it wasn't random which teams got sent west/east. The top teams stayed in their region. Having a couple out of region teams was just a bonus. You got the best of both worlds: a critical mass of good teams from the region, and a couple teams from out west/east to spice things up.

under the 12 team format there would USUALLY be 6 east and 6 west teams; teams 5 and 6 would be swapped out to the opposite regions and 1-4 would stay in their home regions. sometimes there would be tweaking such as when there was a 7/5 split one way or another (double swap the final team back to its home region) but that was the general rule

Caustic Undertow
03-26-2011, 05:11 PM
Now, some numbers:

There are 8 "game days" in the regionals. Each day has 1 attendance figure--the first day fans see both games. Here are the day one and day two attendance numbers for the regionals last year, courtesy of ultra-reliable wikipedia:

Fort Wayne
4133
3204

Albany
4073
3737

Worcester
6572
6054

St. Paul
7281
7182

Total regional attendance: 42,236

That's not very good. You can see why the NCAA prefers this to the old 6-team regional format, though, because those 4 days would have to average almost 10,600 fans a day to make the same attendance. 2 8-team regionals at 3 days each would still have to average slightly over 7,000 fans a day to match that total.

Nonetheless, the negatives to this format are numerous. Truly neutral sites draw pitiful crowds. Even St. Paul, with the best attendance of any regional, still left a healthy 12,000 seats unsold to each game. Consider how that felt to players and fans of Wisconsin and St. Cloud, when a week earlier they could attend a Final Five with twice as many fans. Hosted sites give an unfair advantage to one team, unfair because the advantage is random and unearned. In any event the televised product is embarrassing, and many of the biggest fans of the teams, right after attending a conference tournament and before a possible trip to the Frozen Four, are unable to watch in person.

Let's be conservative and say that the NCAA goes to home sites but plays only one game, on Friday or Saturday night, over two weekends for two rounds. that's 12 games. Let's be even more conservative and estimate that these games will <b>average</b> 4,000 fans. That's 12 games with 4000 fans each. Total Attendance? 48,000.

And these are the core fans of the teams, in their home venue, able to go crazy for their team, not required to travel between two big travel weekends for hockey. These are players able to play their final games in front of a friendly crowd, with a palpable buzz in the building that dwarfs anything they've experienced before. And, when upsets happen, players able to enjoy the silence of a building not because it is empty, but because they defeated the home team and are moving on.

That's for one game. Expand to 3-game series and you double the numbers or more. The games that are televised look great. The players love it. The top 8 seeds have a real reward for a good season, and the top 4 seeds have home ice until the FF.

And this does help to grow the sport, by increasing its attention in its base market. People with potential to be college hockey fans see exciting games and think of it as a sport worth following. Recruits see a chance to play real, exciting, home playoff games in the postseason (let's be honest, the conference first rounds, apart from the rare upset, aren't that intense). Fan bases of teams are increased and solidified. Michigan's vaunted Yost tradition dates to one weekend when Cornell came to visit for the NCAA tournament; Yost's reputation as a great home venue, one that has eaten top seeds alive, dates to that weekend. That could happen for dozens of other schools as well--just give them home ice.

moose97
03-26-2011, 06:04 PM
Let's be conservative and say that the NCAA goes to home sites but plays only one game, on Friday or Saturday night, over two weekends for two rounds. that's 12 games. Let's be even more conservative and estimate that these games will <b>average</b> 4,000 fans. That's 12 games with 4000 fans each. Total Attendance? 48,000.

And these are the core fans of the teams, in their home venue, able to go crazy for their team, not required to travel between two big travel weekends for hockey. These are players able to play their final games in front of a friendly crowd, with a palpable buzz in the building that dwarfs anything they've experienced before. And, when upsets happen, players able to enjoy the silence of a building not because it is empty, but because they defeated the home team and are moving on.

That's for one game. Expand to 3-game series and you double the numbers or more. The games that are televised look great. The players love it. The top 8 seeds have a real reward for a good season, and the top 4 seeds have home ice until the FF.

And I'll give the flip-side:

Do you like watching ALL the games on TV? That would never happen under your proposed format. First off, you go from 4 sites to 8 in week one alone, then add in the 4 more in week 2, so triple the number of cameras needed if you want ALL the games on. Same for talent - you need 8 additional play-by-play guys and 8 more color commentators. Same for everything else - 8 more sets of refs, 8 more sets of arena staff, 8 more sets of everything - and all on (less than) a week's notice.

Now, your other problem is with arena availability. Most rinks can't hold several weekends on the off chance that the home team hosts games. Now, sure, most schools would know in advance if they were going to host, but several schools share their facility with other tenants, and they will lose money by not being available for rent.

As an example, let's look at Bemidji State. This past year, they had to hold open the first round weekends for women's and men's WCHA play-offs (Feb 25-27 for the women and March 11-13 for the men). Now you're asking to also hold open March 25-27 AND April 1-3? What if you're a CCHA team (say, Ohio State) that has to hold open the women's first round, the men's first and second round, then two weeks for the NCAA's? Wow... Hope you don't need to make money off your rink...


edit - I'll give an example of holding an arena and it costing an event: BSU didn't know until the final weekend if they would host the women's first round WCHA play-offs this past year. The high school team had their play-offs the same weekend, and didn't even think of playing at the Sanford Center because the building was being "held" in case BSU hosted (which they didn't). Now, they might not have even played there if the building was available, but they couldn't even think about it since it was "not available," even though it didn't get used.

HockeyMan2000
03-26-2011, 06:12 PM
And this does help to grow the sport, by increasing its attention in its base market. People with potential to be college hockey fans see exciting games and think of it as a sport worth following. Recruits see a chance to play real, exciting, home playoff games in the postseason (let's be honest, the conference first rounds, apart from the rare upset, aren't that intense). Fan bases of teams are increased and solidified. Michigan's vaunted Yost tradition dates to one weekend when Cornell came to visit for the NCAA tournament; Yost's reputation as a great home venue, one that has eaten top seeds alive, dates to that weekend. That could happen for dozens of other schools as well--just give them home ice.

But you are overlooking the fact they used to do campus sites and best-of-3 series years and years ago. There are several reasons why they don't do them anymore, and while I'd prefer to see that kind of excitement over 4 regional sites with paltry attendance, IMO I can't see them going back there.

For one thing, the format might be a recipe for success in Michigan and certain places but as I wrote before, look at the numbers for Hockey East's 2-of-3 Quarterfinal round held at campus sites over the last decade or thereabouts. Multi-game series simply don't draw in big numbers anymore, not out here anyway, regardless if it's BC or UNH. Sell outs for any game are few and far between, with loads of empty seats.

Now, I realize we are talking NCAA and not Hockey East, but even then, you would still not see mass sell outs in a Best of 3 campus site situation. In Michigan? Sure. Elsewhere? Probably not so much.

Plus, in terms of exposure, it would also be utterly impossible to get every game on TV the way that ESPN is able to do that now. So you would be cutting back on the amount of teams you could show nationally by holding 8 Best-of-3 QF rounds, which would be a massive step backwards in terms of wide exposure. At least the setup now makes it possible to have most everything televised on a national scale, which is a key reason to keep single-game elimination.

Again, I just don't see your proposal ever happening. Campus sites is one argument we can have, but the Multi-game format is definitely not coming back from the dead.

Caustic Undertow
03-26-2011, 06:14 PM
And I'll give the flip-side:

Do you like watching ALL the games on TV? That would never happen under your proposed format. First off, you go from 4 sites to 8 in week one alone, then add in the 4 more in week 2, so triple the number of cameras needed if you want ALL the games on. Same for talent - you need 8 additional play-by-play guys and 8 more color commentators. Same for everything else - 8 more sets of refs, 8 more sets of arena staff, 8 more sets of everything - and all on a week's notice.

Now, your other problem is with arena availability. Most rinks can't hold several weekends on the off chance that the home team hosts games. Now, sure, most schools would know in advance if they were going to host, but several schools share their facility with other tenants, and they will lose money by not being available for rent.

As an example, let's look at Bemidji State. This past year, they had to hold open the first round weekends for women's and men's WCHA play-offs (Feb 25-27 for the women and March 11-13 for the men). Now you're asking to also hold open March 25-27 AND April 1-3? What if you're a CCHA team (say, Ohio State) that has to hold open the women's first round, the men's first and second round, then two weeks for the NCAA's? Wow... Hope you don't need to make money off your rink...

Those are valid points. I do like that I can watch all the games, though it has been a rarity to ever get all of them--espn3 has only now truly made them widely available. And still there are people who cannot see them. So, it's an issue. I think with 8 home sites the production can be expanded, but there's no question that seeing every game becomes a lot less realistic.

Then again, if I go to a game, I'm not so worried about what's on television.

Arena availability might be a challenge in some cases, and there might even need to be a venue change or two (this happens in conference playoffs, too--Ohio State perpetually loses access to Value City Arena due to other obligations). For the most part, though, campus rinks are mothballed after the season ends. Nothing is happening at Amsoil Arena this weekend in Duluth, or at Yost in Ann Arbor, or at Mariucci in Minneapolis, and probably not at most other places either. And that's with no chance of hosting anything.

Nonetheless, those are real potential hangups.

I will say that I was conservative with attendance on purpose, because you can't include NCAA tournament games in a season ticket package, so some arenas might have trouble selling out. The OHL has this problem in its first-round games, though those are meaningless enough that they aren't as big of a draw.

Caustic Undertow
03-26-2011, 06:18 PM
But you are overlooking the fact they used to do campus sites and best-of-3 series years and years ago. There are several reasons why they don't do them anymore, and while I'd prefer to see that kind of excitement over 4 regional sites with paltry attendance, IMO I can't see them going back there.

For one thing, the format might be a recipe for success in Michigan and certain places but as I wrote before, look at the numbers for Hockey East's 2-of-3 Quarterfinal round held at campus sites over the last decade or thereabouts. Multi-game series simply don't draw in big numbers anymore, not out here anyway, regardless if it's BC or UNH. Sell outs for any game are few and far between, with loads of empty seats.

Now, I realize we are talking NCAA and not Hockey East, but even then, you would still not see mass sell outs in a Best of 3 campus site situation. In Michigan? Sure. Elsewhere? Probably not so much.

Plus, in terms of exposure, it would also be utterly impossible to get every game on TV the way that ESPN is able to do that now. So you would be cutting back on the amount of teams you could show nationally by holding 8 Best-of-3 QF rounds, which would be a massive step backwards in terms of wide exposure. At least in the single game format now it's possible to have most everything televised on a national scale, which is a key reason to keep single-game elimination.

Again, I just don't see it ever happening. Campus sites is one thing, but the Multi-game format is not coming back from the dead.


I addressed the tv issue already, and also sort of touched on the playoff attendance thing. Here is why I think the attendance will be better than the conference playoffs:

The games are huge. They matter. There is an occasional surprising first-round upset in conference play, but those are the exceptions that prove the rule. BC fans knew that BC would be in the HEA finals regardless, and knew that they would be in the NCAA tournament. Where's the drama in a couple of games against a bottom-feeder with no chance of winning?

Even if they don't sell well, and only get my conservative estimates, isn't a half-full Conte with your own fans better than a quarter-full Scottrade Center 1000 miles away?

moose97
03-26-2011, 06:32 PM
Arena availability might be a challenge in some cases, and there might even need to be a venue change or two (this happens in conference playoffs, too--Ohio State perpetually loses access to Value City Arena due to other obligations). For the most part, though, campus rinks are mothballed after the season ends. Nothing is happening at Amsoil Arena this weekend in Duluth, or at Yost in Ann Arbor, or at Mariucci in Minneapolis, and probably not at most other places either. And that's with no chance of hosting anything.

True, but for every Amsoil, I can find a Sanford Center which has TNA Wrestling tonight, Whittenmore Center with their Home and Garden show, or the World Arena which is hosting Dave Ramsey LIVE.

I will say that I was conservative with attendance on purpose, because you can't include NCAA tournament games in a season ticket package, so some arenas might have trouble selling out. The OHL has this problem in its first-round games, though those are meaningless enough that they aren't as big of a draw.

And that goes back to the root problem, IMHO, going back to the second post in this thread. With the bye week, you allow so many more fans the time to plan for travel, etc. Even with having games at home, there are a number of schools where I think that a week (really, less - Sunday to Friday) is not enough time to sell 4000+ tickets. Plus, what about this year where you have Yale (3400), Union (2200) Miami (3200) Notre Dame (2600) and Merrimack (3000) as top-8 venues? I mean, sure, North Dakota makes up for a couple of those on their own, but man - attendance would be pretty light in your format too.

amherstblackbear
03-26-2011, 06:33 PM
Now, some numbers:
(snip)
That's not very good. You can see why the NCAA prefers this to the old 6-team regional format, though, because those 4 days would have to average almost 10,600 fans a day to make the same attendance. 2 8-team regionals at 3 days each would still have to average slightly over 7,000 fans a day to match that total.


The old regionals came pretty darned close. Especially in the East (the ones that I remember :) )

East00: 9000(day1) 9500(day2)
East99: 8500(day1) 12500(day2)

So using 99 as a baseline (because I'm a Maine fan) . . . we've added 2 teams, 2 games, and one entire regional. And based on these changes, we've added (uses calculator to add the 4 Eastern attendance figures you gave) negative 500 ticket sales. Ahhh, progress.

West00: 8000(day1) 9500(day2)
West99: (abnormally pathetic attendance, constrained by venue choice?)

CLS
03-26-2011, 06:44 PM
After watching the Miami-UNH game, one “rule” that I think they should consider changing is the “no intraconference games in the first round” rule. That rule clearly flies in the face of “fairness” and I’m not sure it accomplishes that much for attendance. Yes, BC-UNH is often the Hockey East final (though it wasn’t this year), but I can bet that the attendance for a BC/UNH regional, would be a lot better than UNH-Miami. Miami deserves better, and the disadvantage to BC is clearly less than the disadvantage to Miami. Unless you learned geography from Barry Melrose, you might know that BC is only about a half hour farther from Manchester than UNH is. I bet BC wishes they had gotten sent to Manchester.;)

amherstblackbear
03-26-2011, 07:15 PM
You know what the real problem is? The thing that nobody is talking about?

16 teams is too many. We mock the basketball folks for floating ideas about expanding to 96 teams but, proportionally, that is exactly what we have in hockey. A 96-team tournament.

Expansion was justified because there was a sense that the sport was growing. That sense was dead wrong. Hopefully next time, the NCAA will expand first and THEN consider modifying the tournament.

MUnRPI
03-26-2011, 07:15 PM
As a Miami fan (and student) it did stink not being able to make the 16 hour drive to Manchester. I don't think the "home ice" for UNH had that great of an effect on the players; UNH just executed better and took the RedHawks out of their game.

IMO however, the NCAA should use the same 4 sites as regional locations every year. Some may argue that it would get boring to go to the same place every year, but I think that consistency is a good way to promote college hockey. Let's say one of the regionals was in Chicago: It's a destination that schools like Notre Dame, Western Michigan, Miami, and many others, would strive for every year. The more that fans are familiarized with the location, the more likely they are to travel. I think this would inevitably boost attendance and overall recognition of the sport. Of course, the locations are up for debate, as the NCAA would want to make the regions in close proximity to as many schools as possible.

AFHockeyFan
03-27-2011, 07:27 AM
Two proposals:
1) Establish "permanent" regionals in neutral cities within driving distance of all the teams in each region (except the Alaskas). This would allow the NCAA to build a relationship with the host communities and enable the majority of fans to get to the games. I would propose Worcester, Syracuse, Indianapolis and Kansas City for starters. If the anticipated fan support doesn't develop after a few years, you could always adjust the hosts.
2) Waive the intra-conference matchup requirement (which only gets postponed to the Regional final anyway under the current format) and place teams by band in the closest regional.

This year's tournament would have had:
Northeast: BC, Merrimack, Notre Dame, UNH
East: Yale, Union, UMD, RPI
Midwest: Miami, Michigan, WM, CC
West: UND, DU, UNO, Air Force

The only place this gets messy is in the three-band, where there are two schools each from the Midwest and West. As with this year's committee, there is the opportunity to be creative in resolving the conflict. (I "rewarded" UMD for finishing 9th by sending them to a weaker regional, and sent Notre Dame east to create the possibility of a compelling BC-ND Regional Final. I also swapped CC and Air Force because this is my bracket and, like the NCAA, I can do whatever I want. Feel free to apply your own criteria)

My two cents.

CLS
03-27-2011, 08:48 AM
Two proposals:
1) Establish "permanent" regionals in neutral cities within driving distance of all the teams in each region (except the Alaskas). This would allow the NCAA to build a relationship with the host communities and enable the majority of fans to get to the games. I would propose Worcester, Syracuse, Chicago-area and Kansas City for starters.
2) Waive the intra-conference matchup requirement (which only gets postponed to the Regional final anyway under the current format) and place teams by band in the closest regional.

This year's tournament would have had:
Northeast: BC, Merrimack, Notre Dame, UNH
East: Yale, Union, UMD, RPI
Midwest: Miami, Michigan, WM, Air Force
West: UND, DU, UNO, CC

The only place this gets messy is in the three-band, where there are two schools each from the Midwest and West. As with this year's committee, there is the opportunity to be creative in resolving the conflict. (I "rewarded" UMD for finishing 9th by sending them to a weaker regional, and sent Notre Dame east to create the possibility of a compelling BC-ND Regional Final. Feel free to apply your own criteria)

My two cents.To me the problem is that you're essentially recreating the ECAC, Hockey East, CCHA, and WCHA tournament, with a "guest" in three of the regions. I don't see the point in that. These teams play each other several times a year, and have played each other the week before in the conference tournament. The conference tournaments are traditional and teams and fans take them seriously and, importantly for the sake of this discussion, attend them well, or at least better than the regionals

One of the things I like about the current setup is that I get to see teams that I don't see all the time. Also, from your previous comment, I'd think one thing you'd want to provide is certainty where you're going. So if you're and AFA fan, you might plan on a trip to Kansas City but get shipped to Chicago.

I'd almost say if you're going to do that, why not just do away with the regionals and have the a playoff with the conference champions, solving the "regionals problem" by doing away with them. That would raise the stakes of the Conference Tourneys which could be a good thing (not that teams do, but you'd never have a team even being suspected of coasting through a conference tournament if they're in the national tournament already). Find a home for UAH, and have FF (you could keep the acronym, but “F” would be “Five”) like the WCHA used to. When there are six conferences, have some six team format (You could still keep the acronym, like the WCHA did this year).

I could buy the concept of permanent sites for regionals. Worcester works OK, but I'm not sure how well Syracuse, Chicago, and Kansas City would work out, since as far as I know, they've never been tried. But the change I'd make is that only the top seed gets to stay there. Send the others where their seeding places them, and do away with the rule against intraconference matchups in the first round.

FreshFish
03-27-2011, 09:04 AM
You know what the real problem is?

16 teams is too many.

more than one out of four Division I teams makes the tournament, right?

amherstblackbear
03-27-2011, 09:17 AM
16 out of 58 (28%)

What screwy system is hoops using these days - 68 teams? If we apply that percentage to hockey, you get 11-odd teams. Round up generously to . . . . . 12 teams.

Sure, it necessitates byes. But those are awarded on merit. Much like proposals to award regionals to the campus sites at the top 4 seeds. And history tells us that you can operate a 6 team regional a lot more successfully than a 4 team one. And you don't have to sacrifice that NCAA tournament feel to achieve excitement and ticket sales.