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What if College Hoops Used the BCS?

Brian: This is, of course, right up my alley. The Big Lead asks the question, what if college hoops used the BCS to select who plays in college basketball's postseason. Using a BCS-like formula, the results:

  • Orange Bowl: North Carolina vs. Louisville (ACC champ vs. Big East champ)
  • Fiesta Bowl: Missouri vs. Michigan State (Big 12 postseason champ vs. Big 10 regular season champ)
  • Rose Bowl: USC vs. Purdue (Pac 10 vs. Big 10)
  • Sugar Bowl: Oklahoma vs. Mississippi State (Big 12 vs. SEC)
  • BCS National Championship: Duke vs. Pittsburgh (ACC vs. Big East)

Of course, there are a couple of things missing from this projection. Namely:

  • The carve out for an 18-14 Notre Dame team to somehow get an at-large BCS berth
  • The anti-trust lawsuits from, among others, the state of Utah (Utah and Utah State), Memphis, Xavier and Butler
  • An irate Tar Heel fan base who would cry foul, noting that UNC beat Duke twice in the regular season yet failed to win the conference tournament and wouldn't be playing for the title.

Jeff, you know I think the current college football bowl + BCS system is dumb. When applied to college hoops, this only further sheds light on the fact that this is no way to pick a national champion. Your counter point?

Jeff: I am not fueling your fire by agreeing with you here. The Big Lead is completely wrong in who would've played for the national championship first of all because it would've been North Carolina vs. Louisville since Louisville was the #1 seed in the tournament after winning the Big East regular season and conference tournaments. Then UNC would've gotten in just as Oklahoma did in 2005 despite not winning the BCS Championship game.

Brian: This scenario assumes that they would have gone with a computer ranking just like the BCS and not the conference champions (most likely, Yahoo's RPI rankings). It's certainly possible that Duke and Pittsburgh would have came out on top since the computers loved them. Then, of course, the year after this happened, the basketball BCS formula would be tweaked yet again to overemphasize conference tournament champions. Holding the system together with band-aids and bubblegum.

Jeff: Well, if North Carolina and Louisville did play in a national title game this year there is no way you could argue that the BCS got it wrong. As for the other games, you could argue all you want but conference champions are conference champions so I don't know what else you can do. The BCS is not a finely tuned machine but given all the constraints of student-athletes, schools, conferences, and the sport of football simply not being able to support a 64 team playoff, it gets the job done.

Brian: All those constraints for the sport of football seem to magically disappear when you move from Division I-A to Division I-AA. Crazy! And you don't need 64 teams. 64 is a little over 19% of the total number of Division I-A men's college basketball programs. 16 teams will do just fine.