New NCAA Basketball Format Announced

The number of 16-seed play-in games is increasing, but it’s only going up to two, not four. Instead, there will be another pair of them for the last four at-large teams in the tournament. That means that, until two days before the 64-team bracket kicks in, we won’t know for sure the full composition of the 11- and/or 12-seed line. These new sets of play-in games are going to be called the “First Four.”

This issue cuts right to the heart of what you think the purpose of the tournament is. Clearly it’s not just for determining a champion, or else it would be smaller than 64 teams and the Patriot League wouldn’t have a guaranteed spot. I get that you have to throw a bone to the smaller conferences when they have an equal say in how things work.