First Take Photo Credit: First Take

Jay Williams has a bold proposal to expand the NCAA Tournament, and ESPN’s First Take analyst laid out his vision on Monday’s show.

His idea generated enough nasty comments on social media (“insane,” “crazy,” “terrible idea,” “destroy the tournament,” etc.) that it’s a leading contender for the worst take of the week. And the week just started.

Talk of expanding the tournament has been floating around for years and recirculates every year at this time when programs that felt they deserved a spot in the field get snubbed. An 88-team field has been mentioned as a possible ideal size.

Williams would go much further and expand the field to 112 teams.

“Let’s just expand the tournament,” Williams said. “So let’s just do 112 teams. The top 16 teams get a bye in the first round, the first round you have 96 teams: 24 games played on Tuesday, 24 games played on Wednesday. Then you have the Round of 64. Thursday, 16 games. Friday, 16 games. Then you get to the Round of 32. Eight games on Saturday, eight games on Sunday. There you go, 96 games in six days. This way, let everybody get in. You’re not paying attention to the first 5:30 games of the thing anyway —”

“But people are,” fellow analyst Seth Greenberg interrupted. “People are, because people gamble on them. People are paying attention.”

Greenberg seemed offended by the notion fans don’t care about first-round games.

“Why do people go to the race track?” Greenberg asked. “They’re looking for a crash. Why do people watch the opening round of the NCAA Tournament? Because they’re looking for someone to crash and burn.”

“What is this about?” Williams continued. “This is about generating revenue. What also is it about? Giving players (revenue) share. So yeah, increase the tournament.”

While many fans support expanding the tournament field, those commenting on Williams’ proposal agreed 112 teams is far too many.

[First Take]

About Arthur Weinstein

Arthur spends his free time traveling around the U.S. to sporting events, state and national parks, and in search of great restaurants off the beaten path.