The value of early tournaments

Maui, Coaches vs. Cancer and more provide key lessons for March 2010

Originally Published: December 2, 2009
By Jay Bilas | ESPN.Com

This column appears in the December 14, 2009 issue of ESPN The Magazine. To access Jay Bilas' regularly updated blog, please go here.

Years ago, before computer ratings and "bodies of work" became the obsession of the NCAA Tournament selection committee, life was simpler for college basketball coaches: Succeed in conference play, you get an invite to the Dance. So savvy coaches prepared their teams for the games that mattered by arranging tough early slates.