The Final Four is Broken, Here’s How to Fix It!

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It was apparent to any observer of college basketball this season that Kansas and Kentucky were the two best teams in the land. The two powerhouse schools, rich with tradition, went a combined 64-4 in the regular season and finished No. 1 and No. 2 in the final Associated Press poll. So why are we stuck watching Butler, West Virginia, Michigan State and Duke this weekend? This system obviously needs reform.

Instead of having this long, drawn out tournament with complicated brackets where no-names like Northern Iowa get to play and beat stalwarts like Kansas, I propose we gather a select group of east coast elites and southern good ole boys, put them in a wood paneled room with a computer and let them hash things out. I am sure they would have come up with one conclusion: Kansas and Kentucky should play for the national championship. All we need now is a sponsor and name: the Microsoft Hardwood Classic?

What about the rest of teams, you ask? Well, we could have a Hardwood Classic Select Series of games. For instance, No. 3 Duke would play No. 4 Syracuse in the Google Classic a couple of days before the Kansas/Kentucky game just to build up the hype. Winning that game would carry a level of prestige for the school even if it had no impact whatsoever on the national championship picture.

We could even get creative and let an upstart like No. 11 Butler take on one of the big boys like No. 5 Ohio State just to see if they could actually compete on that level. “This Hardwood Classic Select Series” would consist of 5 games determined by conference affiliations along with a few wildcard or at-large entrants.

The remaining teams could play in lesser classics; the Gophers might accept an invitation to play in the “Music City Classic” in Nashville, TN. Detroit could host a “Motor City Classic” and Florida a “Gator Classic” and so on. Committees and sponsors of those games would determine the participants.

Doesn’t this sound like fun? Sure, there’s plenty of potential for controversy, but that would just generate more discussion and interest in the sport. Imagine the panic that would set in when a highly ranked team loses a head scratcher in November. It could ruin their entire season! It would shift the focus of the fans from that silly tournament system in place now to the regular season where it belongs.

I know this is a radical change and change doesn’t happen overnight. There are entrenched interests with a lot of money that will fiercely oppose any new ideas, but I am asking you today to help me form a grassroots movement that will one day lead to much needed reform!

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