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The Quigley Plan For March Madness Expansion

Alex Quigley

Former rock DJ, currently a multipurpose Chicago media guy.

It's pretty safe to say that this year's NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament has delivered one of the best weekends of action in recent memory. But lurking beneath the on-court action is the rumor that the field of 65 teams will be expanded to 96 teams. Some say "if it ain't broke, don't fix it". Some say "more games mean more action". I say 96 isn't enough.

I'm saying we go all the way to 1,024 teams.

One thousand twenty-four.

I've given it a lot of careful thought, and there are just too many pros and not enough cons to keep the Quigley Plan from being executed.

First, Selection Sunday goes from an hour-long event to an all-day affair! Sixteen solid hours of seeds and obscure college names on lines! Can you imagine how entertaining a sleep-deprived Greg Gumbel would be? Who's going to get the #1 seed in the Mid-Southwestern-East sub-regional? THIS WOULD BE EPIC.



Matt Stone and Trey Parker were visionaries.

You like the excitement of four simultaneous games on Opening Thursday and Friday, right? Try SIXTY-FOUR games at once. Sure, a lot of them will be blowouts, but even if only a third are competitive...TWENTY LAST-POSSESSION GAMES HAPPENING AT ONCE. A barrage of four game-winning threes within ten seconds would be possible. I see you nodding your head. You're starting to get it now. Scientists would immediately invent customizable multi-picture-in-picture for this event. It's like the race to the moon in the Sixties and the tech advances that resulted; EVERYONE BENEFITS.



"Hurry! Eastern Tennessee State-Northern Vermont tips off in an hour!"

And don't automatically assume all those games won't be competitive. There's enough pressure on #1 seeds to beat a #16 seed. How about the pressure of beating a #256-seed team? (Kansas will be the first to lose, I estimate sometime around 2075.)

The NCAA wouldn't be the only people making money from these 1,023 games. Think of all the currently-unemployed broadcasters who'd have a job for a couple of weeks! Me and Bruce Wolf could call an epic #128/#129 first-round battle! Not to mention the temporary employment of tens of thousands of referees, scoreboard operators, towel boys, concessions stand staff, security, whoever it is that honks the horn for substitutions...I'm telling you, the Quigley Plan could almost single-handedly solve our country's economic woes.



2011 Nobel Prize winner, Economics

Don't want to travel all the way to a NCAA sub-regional location? Under the Quigley Plan, the games come to you! Hell, Chicago could have games happening simultaneously at the United Center, Allstate Arena, Sears Center, and UIC Pavillion! (Maybe throw Rockford a bone and give the MetroCentre some games. They could use the help.)



No, really: someone help Rockford.

And the gambling would be so, so sweet. Some sites offer a million bucks for a perfect bracket. My plan would up the perfect bracket prize to one hundred quadrillion dollars. Or Euros, if you'd prefer. The odds are long...but there's always a chance. A million bucks is nice, but look at this number: $100,000,000,000,000. You could buy Hawaii.

I realize there are a couple of glaring problems with the Quigley Plan. But I believe I have their solutions.

The sixteen-fold increase in games means that the tourney would have to start in February, thereby negating the well-known phrase "March Madness". My answer: SO WHAT. The championship's already held in April, anyway! Just kill all the conference tourneys (since everyone's getting in) and call those opening rounds "February Freakout". (trademark pending)



"February Freakout" seems a better fit, doesn't it?

The biggest problem is finding enough teams to populate the 1,024-team field. First, all 347 Division I teams are in. Then all 290 Division II teams make the cut. We're more than halfway home, people! I feel like we have to drawn the line at Division III, but don't feel bad for them: they get the new NIT all to themselves! The rest of the field is filled as follows:

  • All previous NCAA Men's Basketball champions (team must still have ten members alive to be eligible). The Masters does this, and it's an awesome rule.
  • All 120 NCAA FBS football teams
  • All 10 WNBA teams
  • The New Jersey Nets
  • The current cast of Saturday Night Live

The rest of the slots could be filled and your buddies! A massive sweepstakes will be held and random ten-person teams from across the country will be selected to round out the field of 1,024. You think Duke sucks? SHOW THEM NO MERCY. Imagine picking your Wednesday-night YMCA league team to go all the way, and then playing yourself to the Quigley Cup! (trademark also pending)

As you can see, my very-well-thought-out plan is quite plausible. We need to expand for the sake of America. But at some point in the future, even further expansion will be required. After all, there are some six and a half billion people on Earth. I've got a tentative plan drawn up for an expansion to 67,108,864 teams, wherein every living human on the planet will either be attending, working at, or playing in an NCAA tournament game. I know what you're thinking: I'm not considering non-human entities or beings on other planets. Come on now...that's just silly.



(It ain't broke. Don't fix it.)



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Eric From The Dugs said:


Great article.

I think my driveway would be free for hosting some of the early rounds.

Tory said:


A truly fool proof plan.

By the way, "The Blue Blob," my currently winning bracket, was based on your bracket-making article, so thanks for that! :)

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