Daily Herald
128 teams? Give me a break, Bobby
By John Dietz | Daily Herald Columnist
Published: 3/18/2008 12:11 AM

Madness. It's what March is all about to college basketball fans.

But another sort of madness reared its ugly head on Selection Sunday, and it came from former-coach-turned-talking-ESPN-head Bob Knight as well as Virginia Tech coach Seth Greenberg, whose team's bubble burst.

Their suggestion? Let's put 128 teams in the NCAA Tournament.

Their thinking? Hey, it's just one more game, and think of all the kids who now get to experience the joy of March Madness.

My first thought upon hearing these two blokes was, "This is so America's 'what-about-me' attitude these days." Everybody deserves a reward, even if you aren't particularly good or didn't do anything to deserve one.

• Five-year-old kids get trophies for merely participating in soccer, baseball, basketball, etc. Twenty years ago, trophies were handed out to first- and second-place teams. Simply playing a sport -- at any age -- didn't mean you brought a trophy home.

• There are now four classes in Illinois high school basketball instead of two; in football eight instead of six. The result: Diluted titles.

• A college football team can play .500 ball to reach a bowl game. Remember when it meant something to be invited to a bowl? Not so much anymore.

We live in an era of entitlement, and parents routinely complain that "Billy" isn't batting fourth in the lineup or "Jane" didn't qualify for her basketball team.

Enough already.

You want to bat fourth or qualify for a team? Work harder. Still not good enough? Well, that's life. Some people are just inherently better. Maybe you're meant to run the debate team.

The point is that every team is not entitled to play in the NCAA Tournament.

We don't need to revamp one of sports' most treasured events by diluting it so much that participating in it feels like going to the local YMCA for a pickup game.

Hey, show up and you qualify!

Keep the tournament at 65 teams. Let common sense prevail.

And stop the madness.