CHARLOTTE — With the College Football Playoffs expanding to 12 teams for college football, could the NCAA basketball tournaments be next?
ACC commissioner Jim Phillips thinks it’s time to have that conversation.
“I think where we’re needing some dialogue is in not only looking at the men’s basketball and women’s basketball tournament, but some of the other tournaments that have fewer opportunities,” said Phillips during the Commissioner’s Forum at the ACC men’s basketball media days Wednesday . “When you have this compression that I feel that we have to address in the sense that you have a lot of schools that are spending a tremendous amount of resources in sports and not having a chance to access those championships, I certainly felt like we deserved more than five ACC teams last year on the men’s side, and I felt like we deserved more than eight on the women’s side.”
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The men’s basketball tournament has consisted of 68 teams, including the four play-in games, since 2011, while the women’s basketball tournament recently expanded to a field of 64 this season. The ACC had five teams make the men’s tournament, with North Carolina reaching the national championship game. On the women’s side, eight conference teams made the NCAA tournament, with Louisville and NC State reaching the Elite Eight.
“I won’t say anything about where they sent NC State either this morning,” Phillips said in reference to the Wolfpack women being a No. 1 seed and having to play UConn in the Bridgeport, Connecticut regional finals, adding, “The time is now as we’re looking at the overall structure of the NCAA, and one of their responsibilities has been championships. So, I’m in favor of looking at it, and I really would like us to expand. … Similar to what we’ve done in the CFP, I think we’ll have to do the same across the sports that are sponsored from an NCAA level.”
The logistics of a potential tournament expansion would still have to be worked out. More tournament games would more than likely affect how many games teams play in the regular season, including conference schedules.
“There will be a lot of work that needs to be done,” Phillips said. “It has to be done thoughtfully. We need to make sure we’re listening to the membership. … I really believe it to be possible, and I don’t think it gets watered down. I don’t believe that the NCAA tournaments get less exciting in baseball or lacrosse or basketball by having additional schools that qualify for it.”
Reach Louisville football, women’s basketball and baseball beat writer Alexis Cubit at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow her on Twitter at @Alexis_Cubit.