Of course March Madness is great. "The best spectacle in sport." "Three weeks without equal." Blah blah blah. Not content to leave well enough alone, we want to know if it can be better. We're in search of a more perfect tournament. So, we asked a few friends of the magazine if they had any ideas for improving the NCAAs. Here's what Gary Hoenig, editorial director and general manager of ESPN Publishing, thinks we should do.
Doubling the number of teams in the tourney is fine, but what about relegation? I mean the practice in soccer of forcing bad teams out of a higher level of competition and into the next level down. Translation: Your New York Knicks and your Miami Heat in a play-in game to see who gets to stay in the NBA next season. The loser? Hello, Mount St. Mary's! Sure, the NBA season still has a dozen or so games left by mid-March, but face it: None of those remotely matter for the truly bad teams, except to determine their lottery position in the draft. With the added threat of relegation, you could prevent those teams from tanking ... uh, I mean "taking a long look at younger players" in meaningless games. And imagine the Knicks next season, preparing for a long slate of games against Marist, St John's, and Manhattan, not to mention recovering from their second-round tourney loss to Drake. Now that's entertainment.