Scott Drew wants the NCAA tournament to be bigger.
Baylor’s head coach, speaking Wednesday at Big 12 media days in Kansas City, is all for expansion of the tournament — an idea that has recently grown significantly in popularity.
So instead of just a minor expansion, Drew wants to go all out. He wants another full round of games, which would bring the field to a whopping 128 teams.
"I would like to see it go to 128 [teams]," Drew said, . "I know that sounds like a lot. But everybody [would have] to win seven games, so it's just one additional game. But really, this is why: I think there is great parity and you look in football: about half the teams get to go to the postseason."
It doesn’t just sound like a lot. It is a lot. It’s nearly double the 68-team field the tournament has now.
If Drew’s version of the tournament comes to fruition, though, it would open the event to a much larger portion of Division I schools. Currently, only about 19% of the 363 men’s college basketball teams make it in. A 128-team field would include about 35% of teams.
"Players, they work all their life to be a part of the NCAA tournament," Drew said, . "If you go to 128 [teams], you get about one-third who get to experience that. ... If more teams get a chance to make it, I think [there will be] great games."
Drew is far from alone in wanting an expanded NCAA tournament. SEC commissioner Jim Sankey first brought it up in August, and ACC commissioner Jim Phillips said earlier this week that he supported a move to expand by 25% — which would bring the field to about 90 teams. The how to expand postseason tournaments across all sports by as much as 25%.
And since the College Football Playoff is expanding to 12 teams in the coming years, new Big 12 commissioner Brett Yorkmark said, why shouldn’t the men’s and women’s basketball tournaments?
"I'm a huge fan of the [NCAA tournament]," Yormark said, . "I always have been. I think it captures the imagination of everyone in this country, whether you're a hardcore fan or a casual fan. There is nothing like March. It's unbelievable. That being said, I know there have been a lot of reports about further expansion of the tournament and I'm open to it — for both men's and women's [basketball], not just men's. It has to go both ways.
"You're talking about [College Football Playoff] expansion. Why not expansion in March for the basketball tournaments?"
Bill Self: ‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’
Kansas head coach and reigning NCAA tournament champion Bill Self had a slightly different view of expansion.
Self led No. 5 Kansas to a national title last season with a win over No. 1 North Carolina, which earned him his second title at the school. While he’s fine with improving the event, he’s not sure there’s too much to be done.