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Thursday, November 04, 2004
Something to Think About
The Big Ten is considering some changes to it's regular season schedule and post-season tournament for after this season.

Among the options to be considered: Playing an 18- or 20-game conference
schedule instead of the current 16, and having a tourney format in which teams
earn their way into the field. All 11 teams currently participate.

The 20 game schedule wouldn't bother me much, since it would mean that each team would play home and away against every other team, instead of the unbalanced schedule we have now. Some might think it would be too long of a season, but I generally like changes that promote equal opportunity. For example, when I looked over this year's schedule, I noticed Indiana only plays Iowa, Michigan State, and Illinois one time each, whereas Purdue plays each of those three teams twice. Do those teams start the season with an equal chance? I think anytime you have a balanced schedule the league as a whole is better off.

The league's other proposal would be to cut the conference tournament to three days by trimming the qualifying teams from 11 down to 8. I suppose this makes sense in that you have to earn your way into the tournament, which makes the regular season games seem to mean more, but I don't like the idea much. To me, March basketball is all about the excitement of some weak team making an improbable three or four day run to sneak into the Big Dance when it has no right being there (2001, anyone?). Leave those bottom-feeders in the tournament so they still have that faint ray of hope to guide them at the end of the season. The top four teams in the conference get byes in the first round anyway, so that's gives some meaning to the regular season.

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