ACC to propose expanding NCAA tournament by four teams to 72
The ACC plans to propose legislation to expand the NCAA tournament field from 68 to 72 teams, commissioner John Swofford said at the conclusion of the league’s spring meetings in Amelia Island, Florida.
Swofford said the men’s basketball coaches endorsed the proposal, citing more postseason opportunities for football teams compared to basketball teams.
“The idea of having two First Fours, if you will, maybe geographic,” Swofford told reporters in Florida, according to the Raleigh News & 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.”
Miami Hurricanes coach Jim Larranaga told ESPN that expanding the NCAA tournament field would be good for several reasons, including “unreasonable” travel for West Coast teams to Dayton, Ohio.
“There are always bubble teams that could have and should have been invited that could go on a big run that don’t get invited,” Larranaga said. “… Sixty-eight of 351 Division I teams make the field. That’s 19 percent of the teams. Seventy-two teams would make it 20 percent. That is not a huge increase when you compare it to how many football teams make it to a bowl game.”
Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton, whose Seminoles were considered a bubble team going into Selection Sunday before advancing to the Elite Eight, also favors the proposal to increase the field by four teams.
“I am happy with the initiative,” Hamilton said. “We all know that college basketball is growing in popularity. And when you look at what has happened in the last couple of years with a lot of teams hitting their stride at the end of the season, I really do think it’s time to begin the conversation of expanding the NCAA tournament.”
Swofford also said the league will propose specific rules changes, including widening the lane, resetting the shot clock to 20 seconds after an offensive rebound and moving the 3-point line back.