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Seth Greenberg likes NCAA tournament expansion

Virginia Tech finds itself, once again, sitting on the NCAA tournament bubble. But maybe some time soon that won't be the case if the field expands to 96 teams.

Earlier this week, Hokies Coach Seth Greenberg said expansion is something he would favor because of the opportunities it provides to the players.

"One-hundred percent behind expanding it," Greenberg said on a teleconference with reporters. "There are four, five, six really, really elite teams. But its so hard to distinguish because there are a lot of good teams that can win games in the NCAA tournament. With the 31 automatic bids, you really don’t get the 65 best teams anyway. I think it would give teams that have good season – and you're talking about student-athlete welfare – the experience to play in the NCAA tournament. I think that speaks for itself if you’re really considering student-athlete welfare. That’s a great experience for those young people."

It might be easy to predict a coach to be in favor of such an expansion. Simply put, this will ease the pressure on many coaches to make the NCAA tournament. With a larger field, coaches will have a much easier chance to say, "I coached an NCAA tournament team." It should also be noted that Virginia Tech has been a regular resident on the bubble, including this season.

Greenberg said it was not about that. Noting his coaching experience in the Big West Conference, Conference USA, the Big East and the Atlantic Coast Conference, Greenberg said it was more about providing opportunity to more teams and their players. In those smaller conferences, teams don't have the same opportunity or exposure as those from larger conferneces.

"I think it will give more teams at all levels an opportunity to have that experience," Greenberg said of expanding the field. "There will there still be teams on the bubble. Yeah, the 97th team is going to be on the bubble; that’s the way it is. But I think it will give more people an opportunity to have that experience."

A reporter pointed out that many fans seem opposed to the idea. Greenberg says change is not easy, and that before long, he feels fans would embrace the new format.

"These people don't remember when it was 32 or 16 teams," Greenberg said of when the tournament field was even smaller than the current 65-team format, adding: "Maybe there was a segment of basketball society who thought, What do you mean expand to 32 teams, but you know people adjust. And the one thing about college basketball, people have great passion for the game and the madness that is March."

By Mark Viera  |  February 23, 2010; 3:00 PM ET
 
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