Monday, 5 March 2007

NCAA Basketball

Sarah is a massive fan of Duke Basketball team and through that I have become a follower and interested in how a season works. If you think the Duckworth Lewis sytem is complex wait till you see this puppy.
First. All the teams are in conferences and play each other twice. The teams are then rated on who has the best overall rating. So in the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) Duke are in 5th with 8 wins and 8 losses. All teams also play a number of matches against teams from other conferences but these have no bearing on the conference standings.

Second At the end of the season the best 65 teams get together and play knock out with the winner going into the next round until two teams are left which is the final. (Team 64 play Team 65 for the final place)

The issue comes when you try and select the final 65 and the order that they should be in. A group of people (not sure who) choose them based on how well they have done. That seems a bit arbitrary. The matter is further confused because each conference has a knock out tournament with the winner ending up in the end of season tournament so you could come last in the conference having lost all your games but if you win the conference tournament then you get into the end of season tournament and could win the overall crown. Madness.

I suggest a league structure with 16 teams in League 1, 16 teams in League 2 etc until all the teams are accounted for. the bottom two in League 1 moved to League 2 and the top two in League 2 move up. This way the teams are all of a similar standard so there are no easy matches and the best 65 teams are clear. The disadvantage is the amount of travelling but home fans do not travel much anyway and there are already long trips.

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