Revisiting Coach K's Comments On NCAA Tournament Expansion

Late last night, long after Duke routed Gardner-Webb, a reporter asked Mike Krzyzewski for his thoughts on the NCAA Tournament's possible expansion to 96 teams. As we now know, Coach K -- unlike our own Alex Fanaroff and a whole bunch of other smart folks -- has joined the dark side. He wants a 96-team field for a few reasons:

  • The NIT has lost "prestige, value and money," and folding it into the NCAA Tournament would make it relevant again.
  • An expanded field would put more value on the regular season, adding more meaning to January and February games in, say, the Missouri Valley Conference.
  • Also? It's a cash cow -- well, that would be the NCAA's rationale, anyway.

But as we noted, those comments represent a rather stark policy shift for Krzyzewski, who clearly had thought hard before publicizing his change of heart. In October, he told ESPN that an expanded field would dilute the Tournament -- which he reiterated last night, cautioning against a 128-team field -- and that's a view he's held for a long time now.

In 2008, on the eve of Gerald Henderson's Duke's nail-biting first-round win over Belmont, Krzyzewski offered the following thoughts on expansion, per The Herald-Sun:

"I just don't think you mess around with a formula that has produced this level of success. It should be tough to get in.... The only thing I'd think about is that if you're going to have one play-in game, you have four. If nothing else, it would be so that every No. 1 seed is treated the same. Either that, or eliminate the play-in game. Either go 64 or 68."

Sounds similar to what Krzyzewski told The Chronicle in an unpublished part of an interview from 2006:

"I wouldn't be for expansion right now. This bracket thing with 64, it's such a phenomenon. We have this thing right now that captures the country for a whole month. I don't know if you mess with that, as long as everyone has a chance -- which they do."

And you know what's the worst part about all of this? None of it matters that much, anyway! Last I looked, basketball isn't the major college sport with an unintelligible playoff system.


Share and discuss “Revisiting Coach K's Comments On NCAA Tournament Expansion” on social media.