West Virginia’s Bob Huggins Suggests ‘Separate NCAA Tournaments For Major Schools’
Huggins’ teams have a long history of being knocked out of the NCAA tournament by higher-seeded teams, and the West Virginia coach has an idea that could stop that from happening.
“They’re doing it in football,” Huggins said. “Why wouldn’t they do it? The presidents and athletic directors that have all the juice, why wouldn’t they do it? Makes no sense why they wouldn’t do it. I think it’s more ‘Why wouldn’t they?’ than ‘Why would they?’ And then, the other people, they can have their own tournament.”
The basic concept behind Huggins’s premise may be flawed, though. The College Football Playoff is currently considering an expansion that would make it more likely that a non-Power Five school makes the tournament. Expanding the playoffs would offer non-power schools their best shot at competing for a national title in decades.
In addition, the gap between major conference teams in football is exponentially higher than in basketball. Division 1 college football teams can give out 85 scholarships, compared with 13 basketball scholarships.
Alabama football can hoard a never-ending assembly line of 5-star recruits that have been in Nick Saban‘s system for years. John Calipari has a whole new starting five every season at Kentucky. The most experienced teams in March tend to be mid-majors that can strike fear into talented but young major programs.
Since becoming a “major conference” coach at West Virginia, Huggins has lost in the first weekend to a non-power team on three occasions. Huggins-coached teams have been knocked out in the first weekend of the NCAA tournament 16 times in his 25 appearances.
This argument certainly isn’t about competitive balance. This argument seems to be more about money than anything else.