Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Critics hitting close to home

You knew this was going to happen.

Some critics are saying it’s not fair that No. 1 overall seed North Carolina can follow Tobacco Road all the way to the Final Four. The Tar Heels are scheduled for first- and second-round games in Raleigh.

If they advance, they will play in the East Regional in Charlotte. This is the result of the NCAA bracketing system introduced in 2002 designed to keep teams close to home when possible without ruining the integrity of seeding for the tournament.

This means some teams get something akin to homecourt advantages, and some people don’t like that. North Carolina, which earned its home-state path to the Final Four, isn’t the most offensive example to the critics.

Texas, a No. 2 seed, could play No. 1 seed Memphis in Houston in a regional final. No. 7 seed Gonzaga has to travel across the country to play No. 10 seed Davidson in Raleigh. No. 7 seed Butler plays No. 10 seed South Alabama in Birmingham, Ala.

But having a lot of teams close to home has advantages. Travel costs are reduced. Local favorites help sell tickets and create a more passionate environment in the arenas.

In Raleigh, most of that passion will be directed toward one team. But having fans – any fans – in the stands is a good thing for the teams and TV.

Generating local interest is one NCAA trend that should continue.

– Ken Tysiac


Anonymous said...

Makes no difference to UNC. We tend to have the majority no matter where we play. It is nice for the players to be able to attend class all week instead of traveling across the country, though.

Anonymous said...

Why is UNC so critized for playing in NC when UCLA has not had to leave the state of Cal. in the last 2 years that have resulted in back to back final four apperances