The end of the bracket world as we know it

Wed, Mar 31
Final Four Bracket AP Photo/Ann HeisenfeltWhoa ... looks like you're going to need a bigger crane in 2011.

According to Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany, the NCAA men's basketball tournament likely will expand to 96 teams next season, ushering in an inevitable college hoops apocalypse. Or at least something as awful as Mel Gibson's "Apocalypto." Don't take our word for it. Just consult the experts:

"I would rather see telephone soliciting expand, the American Bar Association expand, even my waistline expand."
-- Sports writer Dan O'Neill*

''I want the NCAA tournament to mean something and I know there are other coaches out there that just feel that it would dilute the thing if we have more expansion."
-- Digger Phelps**

"Further reflection suggests it is instead a recipe for disaster that would rob [the sport] of the uniqueness it should be promoting instead of destroying."
-- Sports writer Peter Pascarelli*

"To go beyond the present system would be to accommodate those teams that don't have a chance to win."
-- Former Big East commissioner Dave Gavitt**

"Further expansion would reduce the NCAA tournament to nothing more than professional basketball and hockey's playoffs where almost everyone and his brother make it to the post-season field and the regular season is nearly meaningless."
-- Sports writer Randy Minkoff**

"Winners used to play other winners to determine who is the fairest of 'em all. But no more. Today we hold tournaments after playing an exhaustive, punishing grind of games that really determines nothing. Most of the times the two best teams do manage to survive, but where is the reward, the real reward for winning the most of their allotment of games in the regular season?"
-- Sports writer Morris Siegel***

''Things are so watered down right [now, expansion] wouldn't make a difference."
-- John Wooden**

* Circa 1993, regarding the creation of the MLB wild card
** Circa 1982 and 1983, regarding the expansion of the NCAA tournament to 64 teams
*** Circa 1990, regarding the NFL wild card

Sources: St. Louis Post-Dispatch, United Press International, The Sporting News, The Miami Herald, The Washington Times