- I don't like the single play in game so the field is 65, so replace it with more play in games. Seed 18 teams in each region, and have the final four seeds play each other on Tuesday/Wednesday in the tournament sites for the right to advance. Seed 15 plays 18 and 16 plays 17, and the winners get seeds 1 and 2.
- This still leaves the initial tournament at 64 teams starting on the first Thursday and keeps things on schedule. Right now, 3 weeks is a bit long for the tournament, and if you do anything else, you run the risk of playing through the middle part of April.
- Keep the games in March. Work with the conferences to get their tournaments done in late February so that March is what it's for, tournament basketball. Even if you did need a fourth weekend for play in games, you could still do it through March and it's done by end of March.
- Finally, if you win the conference berth to get into the tournament, you avoid having to play in the play in game. This is probably the most controversial thing I'm suggesting, but seriously, having a team win their way into the tournament with the automatic berth only to be told you have to play another game just to get into the tournament just penalizes the smaller conferences. The play in games should be the middle fringe teams in the bigger conferences for the right to get into the tournament. You might get a few more upsets, and more compelling opening round games.
But I don't expect this to be done, because the NCAA isn't going to do what is sensible here. They're going to listen to the TV and advertising money, and take what is already a wonderfully compelling competition and turn it into an unwieldy mess. The NFL plays one game to determine a champion, and until recently, the games haven't been compelling but now, they are spectacles of sports. Most other sports use long series to determine a winner, which while somewhat more fair that a one game title, it does lend itself to a champion being crowned because they handled the number of games better than their opponents. Seriously, the NBA takes 2 and a half months to determine a title, and I can't think of a compelling reason why.
If the NCAA cared, they'd watch what happened this weekend, they'd view the crowds at sports bars and the cubicle people hiding in their cubes to get scores and realize they have a good thing going already. The money might be compelling, but you have the perfect system now and there's no reason to tinker with it. And thinking that it needs to be changed means that the almighty dollar is far more important that the drama and the competition of sport.