If the ACC has its way, the NCAA Tournament would expand from 68 teams to 72. That’s from a proposal at the conference’s spring meetings, and it’d be quite a change.
The NCAA Tournament expanded from 64 teams to 65 in 1999 when the Mountain West was added to Division I, and expanded to 68 teams in 2011. The reasoning for the latter expansion was mainly that more games means more money for broadcasters.
The tournament expanded by adding the First Four in Dayton, Ohio. The ACC’s suggestion for further expansion, according to The News and Observer is to simply add another First Four, and the conference’s reasoning is that football teams have more opportunities to play in the postseason, so why shouldn’t basketball teams? Seventy-eight of the 130 teams in FBS football made bowl games this past season, while only 68 of 351 teams in Division I basketball made the NCAA Tournament.
It’s an interesting position for the ACC to be in, given that it is the conference that secured the most bids in the 2018 NCAA Tournament with nine. But every conference always wants more teams in the tournament.
“The idea of having two First Fours, if you will, maybe geographic,” ACC commissioner John Swofford said, per The News and Observer. “That’s such a quick turnaround. You could have one maybe in Dayton and one in the western part of the states. But we will be proposing that.”
But the conference isn’t going into further detail just yet.
“I think it’s a little premature to get into specifics before there’s a little bit more of evolvement,” Swofford said. “We’ll see. I don’t want to get out ahead of the train. We want to be right with it as it moves along.”