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Gary Williams pushes for tournament expansion

On Thursday, Maryland Coach Gary Williams was on "The Mike Wise Show" on WJFK. The topic that dominated the conversation between Wise (MW), co-host Bill Rohland (BR) and Williams (GW) was proposed expansion of the NCAA tournament, which Williams favors. Now this is pretty long, but it was an entertaining conversation. Keep in mind that Rohland also is the radio voice of George Mason basketball.

MW: Bill, I was gonna say, my co-host, he says the tournament’s fine. You’re in favor of expanding it. Could you give us the best argument for that?
GW: I’ll give you the best argument: They’ve expanded the tournament. I remember 16 teams when UCLA was doing their damage and winning championships. They went to 32, went to 48 with a play-in game for some teams. Went to 64 and now it’s 65. Each time it was expanded it was because there was more good teams. There’s more good teams now. That’s why it should be expanded.
MW: Go ahead, Bill. What’s your take on that?
BR: Coach, there’s no thought that then it becomes a watered-down process, [GW tries to interrupt] kind of like in college football, where you have half the schools that make it?
GW: When it went from 16 to 32, did it get watered down? When it went 32 to 64, did it get watered down? Why wasn’t it watered down when it went from 32 to 48 to 64?
BR: Why not go to 128? Why not go to 256?
GW: You know that’s ridiculous. You don’t want to put everybody in. Like Indiana high school basketball used to have the best high school state tournament in the country because everybody played.
MW: Now they’re going to divisions.
GW: You know, now there’s an argument for that. So why not play — I don’t know the right number — but you already play Tuesday night before the main part of the tournament, so I you played eight games that night, would that be bad for college basketball? There’s teams every year in our league, the Big East, Big Ten, they’re certainly good as half the teams in the NCAA tournament. So why shouldn’t those kids get the opportunity to tell their kids and their grandkids that they got the oppotunity to play in the NCAA tournament? You know, believe it or not, we’re in this business for the kids, okay? Really, I make a lot of money now, some coaches make a lot of money that you never thought you’d make when guys my age went into coaching, but you do, okay? So now, what’s the best for the kid, not to play in the NCAA tournament or to play in th NCAA tournament? Just tell me that argument.
MW: Ahhh, very good point, very good point, Gary.

BR: Well, then you know what? The every team should be in. If it’s that important .....
GW: No, you’re wrong. You should have, you know, it’s subjective, who gets in now, obviously. And so, you know, if there’s room for, say, 16 more teams, great. If it’s eight more teams, great. Whatever the deal is.
BR: What do you think the number, without watering it down, Coach?
GW: You’re talking like you’re working for the TV networks. [Laughter]
BR: God no, please don’t accuse me of that.
GW: You want 64. CBS signed I think it was a $7.2 billion contract, mainly for the NCAA tournament, and that’s based on, they love that 64 thing. But I’m thinking, as colleges need more revenue, think about the revenue you could produce from that Tuesday night, if you made it a national basketball night, and you had, on college campuses, the higher-seeded team playing at home, just think of the money you could make. And see, all that money doesn’t go to basketball, that goes to run the other sports at those universities.
BR: Well then, I’ll say this, and it’s not a TV network thing, because ESPN wants the contract and they want to expand to 96. Where do you think, then, without it getting watered down by saying 128 or whatever the number is, where does Coach Williams think the number should be? What’s a good number? Maybe I’ll agree with you, but I don’t like the 96, I don’t like the 128.
MW (incredulous): Maybe I’ll agree with you? He’s the only person who’s won a national championship in this area for decades.
BR: We’re not arguing his coaching ability, Mike.
MW: Sorry, go ahead. Go ahead, Gary, I’m sorry.
GW: No, I just think that you must have missed my first argument. In other words, why aren’t 16 teams in the NCAA tournament?
BR: Well because now, back then there was all auto-bids, there are more than 16 conferences in the NCAA now in Division I.
GW: So there’s a need for more teams to go to 32. There’s a need for more teams to go to 48. There’s a need to go to 64, then to 65. So, right now, there’s more good teams. George Mason’s having a great year. If they get knocked off in their conference playoffs, there’s no way they should be kept out of the NCAA tournament.
BR: Now I disagree with that. This is not a tournament team. I watch them game in and game out. They’re not a tournament team right now.
MW: I don’t know how you’re not coming to Gary’s side of the argument, Bill. You routinely come in here and say you want six CAA teams in the tournament.
BR: That’s not true.
GW: Well, the only way you get them in the tournament, let’s be realistic, let’s be mature people here. The only way you can get that many teams, and they might deserve it, is to expand the tournament. ..... Give it a shot. If it’s bad, you can always go back. You know, if it doesn’t work, go back.
BR: Well, you and I both know, and we can go on and on about this, but you and I both know, Coach, once it expands, it’s not going back.
GW: Okay, well how many teams from Mason’s conference do you want in the tournament? Tell me how many you want in there.
BR: It’s not about the conference. It’s about the teams that are playing up to that level, though it varies from year to year.
GW (voice rising slightly): You think there’s only 64 teams playing up to the level of the 64-team tournament? You think there’s only 64 out there?
BR: I don’t think you can look at it and say, “Gosh, the five or 10 teams that have an argument that they didn’t get in, legitimately have the ability to win a couple games in the tournament.”
MW: You know why I disagree with that, Bill? Because the year you called the greatest game of your life, and went to the Final Four, that’s the year that Hofstra, which beat that team in the CAA final, should have been in the tournament.

[Various inconsequential arguing between BR and MW ensues about George Mason getting into the tournament as an at-large that season. GW interrupts.]

GW: Wait a minute, I’m missing something here. So why wouldn’t you want more teams in if you’re saying Mason shouldn’t have been in it that year? Isn’t it a great thing that Mason was in?
BR: No, I didn’t say they shouldn’t have been in that year. I said they shouldn’t be in this year. Right now, their resume isn’t good enough.
GW: Ah, they’re pretty good.
BR: Well .....
MW: You know why I like it? And I’m not saying go crazy with it. I’d say maybe 12 more teams. My deal is, there are coaches like Gary and there are coaches like Coach Larranaga .....
GW: Okay, ask Bobby Cremins about not going to the NCAA tournament when he was at Georgia Tech. Did that help him there?
MW: Yeah, exactly. And I also think that there’s some, I don’t want to say a reward, but too often, if you look at the Maryland team now, and to me, Gary, this team is not just about heart and talent and perseverance, it’s about guys playing together for a while and knowing each others’ games ..... teams like that should be rewarded if they’re on the bubble because they can knock off those kids, and [to BR] you saw it when your team knocked off Connecticut. So I don’t know, we could go on all day about this, Gary. I think it’s a great point. Like I said, Bill just wants six CAA teams in. That’s what it comes down to.
BR: That’s not true.
GW: Bill, you better call the NCAA then and tell them to stop having these meetings about expanding the NCAA tournament.
BR: Why is there the NIT? They might as well throw the NIT away.
GW: Let’s not go there. We all know about the NIT. I mean, come on.
BR: Oh I know you don’t like it, Gary.
GW: In the real world, there’s the NCAA tournament and nothing at the end of the year. We all know that. I’ve been in the NIT, I know how that feels to be in the NIT.
BR: Been there, done that as well, with Mason.
MW: True story, Gar, or not? You actually looked at a ref in an NIT game and go, “Hey, I know we gotta be here, but what are you doing here?”
GW: [ignores question] I tell you what, it’s gonna be, I think this year, with the parity you see in college basketball, this’ll be the biggest outcry of all about who doesn’t get in. And I think when that happens, you know the NCAA’s gotta listen, and another reason they’ve gotta listen is because they’ve expanded football to 36 bowl games, I guess it is now, which is 72 teams out of about 110 in that so-called bowl division, so just the numbers don’t make any sense for 340 Division I basketball teams to only have 64 in the tournament.
MW: I’m gonna let Gary go now. Thanks, Gary, for joining us.
GW: I enjoyed this. This took my mind off Clemson for about 15 minutes.
[laughter]

By Matt Bonesteel  |  January 29, 2010; 2:08 PM ET
 
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Comments

I've really never understood Gary's or Jim Boeheim's stumping for tournament expansion. We're at a point now with 65 teams in the NCAA, the 32 in the NIT, and 16 or how ever many are in the CIT, which is an awful lot of spots for just about every "good" team out there. This is also from coaches that have typically been on the right side of the bubble with a very few notable exceptions.

The way it is now, there are usually only one or two teams that have a ligitimate gripe when they're left out of the tournament. Also, those teams that are amongst the last few to get into the tournament, rarely do any of them advance past the first weekend. So why bother expanding the tournament if those teams don't have much of a chance? The only adjustment I would be in favor of would be to add three more "play-in games" so every #1 seed gets to play a #16 seed that had to play 2 nights earlier. I would also be in favor of regular season conference champions being given automatic births in addition to conference tournament champions.

I love Gary, and think he's a great coach, but on this he's dead wrong.

Posted by: Russtinator | January 29, 2010 2:31 PM | Report abuse

That fiery attitude that Gary has comes out in all avenues of his public life and this interview demonstrates that. I've met Gary in person a few times and he seems very charismatic and level headed. I would never want to get on his bad side though. GO GARY!!

Posted by: terptilldeath | January 29, 2010 2:37 PM | Report abuse

Reduce the tourney to 64.

Posted by: BrokenClipboard | January 29, 2010 2:45 PM | Report abuse

I think Gary is still pissed about George Mason getting an at-large seed in 2006 when both his Terps and Mason were bubble teams.

Posted by: JPO2200 | January 29, 2010 2:57 PM | Report abuse

I actually think he is concerned about the kids and letting more kids have the chance to play in the tourney. Agree that if there is any expansion, then cut the NIT altogether. Even if it is expanded by three teams to 68. That said, the tournament as it stands is probably the most exciting event in sports, and if they mess with it and it doesn't work, they should be prepared to go back to the existing format the next year.

It is so hard not to like GW. Am thankful he came to MD and the excitement he brings to the area.

Regards -

-hgr

Posted by: HughGRection | January 29, 2010 3:12 PM | Report abuse

Good read. I really enjoyed it.

Posted by: barno-1 | January 29, 2010 3:14 PM | Report abuse

I agree with BrokenClipboard...go back to 64 teams.

A 16 seed has NEVER won a game in the tournament.

More play-in games will NOT help determine a better champion but it will complicate seeding and scheduling. It will take away from the conference tournaments.

Now I will refrain from a more cynical view of what is motivating Gary, but "kids" getting a chance to play in the Tournament is not it.

Simple solution...play better during the season and earn a spot.

Posted by: petecard | January 29, 2010 3:41 PM | Report abuse

Come on HGR... do you really think that Gary cares about the kids? All Gary cares about is job security and collecting that fat paycheck. His job gets a lot easier if 96 teams go to the dance. The only time these coaches come under fire is when they miss out on the tourney. If you expand they are pretty much guaranteed a spot each year unless their wins fall into single digits... and we all know that won't happen when they play all of their non-conference games at home vs. powerhouses like Winston-Salem State, Florida Atlantic, and Fairfield.

Posted by: drgunnie | January 29, 2010 3:55 PM | Report abuse

I love that Poopy McPoop is now creating multiple Barno handles. The same guy who b*tched and moaned about someone else (he accused me) creating a fake Poopy handle is now doing that exact same thing.

Oh, just wait... he'll deny it again. But let's be realistic, Petecard is too slow to figure out how to create a new handle and Poopy has been obsessed with me for years. Hmmmm..I wonder who it could be???

Keep it up, we both you know you lost every debate so this is your only tactic.

Posted by: Barno1 | January 29, 2010 4:23 PM | Report abuse

And yes, Gary is dead on. How do you argue with Gary's point that it wasn't watered down when it went from 16 to 32, it wasn't watered down when it went from 32 to 64, so why is it watered down if we add a few more teams? Not 64 more teams, but say 4-8 more teams? What is the counter to this specific argument?

Posted by: Barno1 | January 29, 2010 4:25 PM | Report abuse

Drgunnie -

Making it in at the 72nd team year after year won't buy anyone job security. Especially if they are bounced during the first round. That said, job security is likely a reason to support it. Don't really care. Love him as a coach, but disagree with him on expansion. That said, as a fan, to see you team have a decent season and miss the tourney sucks. As a player, it really must hurt. In that sense, I think GW does have a point. But to have a great tournament, you can't please everyone.

Regards -

-hgr

Posted by: HughGRection | January 29, 2010 4:27 PM | Report abuse

Barno1 -

I don't think its Poopy either. Not his style whatsoever. The dig on Petecard is not the Poopy approach. Just like Poopy- was clearly not you. I don't think anyone is getting fooled. Expect to see a Pete_Card, a Fushezzzi, a Larry131, and restoonhops soon enough.

Does not really matter to the usual suspects on this board.

Regards -

-hgr

Posted by: HughGRection | January 29, 2010 4:35 PM | Report abuse

True, but the dig at petecard is poopy's clever way of trying to throw us off. Trust me, I've been dealing with this guy stalking me on the blogs for years. This is SO his style.

Do not care though, carry on with your Fake Barno poop.

Posted by: Barno1 | January 29, 2010 4:50 PM | Report abuse

One other dead giveaway...I've ignored Poopy for months and haven't responded to anything. Guy is nuts, and figured what's the point. Then this week I decide to respond to a couple comments for the first time and bang, fake barnos start popping up.

Another dead giveaway...where is Poopy today? Hmmm....

Oh wait, now that I said that he'll log out of fake barno and log in as Poopy. Just watch.

Guy is such an unbelievable loser.

Posted by: Barno1 | January 29, 2010 4:54 PM | Report abuse

There is no question that there are a lot more quality programs than when it was expanded to 64. From increased spending on team facilities and arenas to the number of quality coaches and the pool of good players, the whole pie has expanded. Some degree of expansion does make sense in that regard.


Posted by: jake177 | January 29, 2010 5:02 PM | Report abuse

I had the same first thought when the fake barno popped up----where is Barno's nemesis Poopy_McPoop today? He's here every day but convenient he isn't today.

He'll probably have a good excuse though! Like he was busy doing work right? LOL

Just ignore it real barno.

Posted by: mikegt67 | January 29, 2010 5:11 PM | Report abuse

Mikegt, I will don't worry...just had to point out how obvious it was.

Can't wait til Sunday. We owe Clemson big time.

Posted by: Barno1 | January 29, 2010 5:17 PM | Report abuse

Why bother to speculate who is creating the fake Barnos. Who cares?

I think Poopy is pretty funny and I don't know why we are accusing him...

Best advice...just ignore it.

Posted by: petecard | January 29, 2010 5:48 PM | Report abuse

Really, I mean really? C'mon. Yeah just because I hadn't posted up to this point OBVIOUSLY means that I created my 200th "handle" on here to pose as yet another fake barno. I mean really?

And we were doing so well yesterday. We were all getting along, reminiscing about all things Terps and College Park.

We were almost at the kumbaya moment here on Terp Insider were we would all be drinking hot cocoa and eating smores together, and than an obvious party had to wash all that away with his baseless accusations.

I mean heavens to betsy I actually get some work done and than go to the gym for a 2 hour workout. But no, I guess that just means that I was posting under the "new" barno handle.

Posted by: Poopy_McPoop | January 29, 2010 5:58 PM | Report abuse

And Hugh, yes we were told by the South Campus Resident Director that we were the worst dorm on campus. After lord knows how many antics happened in our dorm (fire alarms pulled on a regular basis, many many holes punched in the wall, hallways left with tons of trash lying around, messing with the maintenance and cleaning staff, etc.) the RD held a meeting with all the males on the basement and 1st level.

He informed us that the antics would stop, gave us some "dad"-type speech and told us that up to this point we were the worst dorm on campus. It was kinda funny 'cause I remember when he said that I looked around at my fellow Wicomico male residents and you could almost get a sense that we all wanted to cheer and high-5 at getting the title of "worst dorm on campus" but we all just sat there and nodded our heads.

Once incident that really burns my craw is when 1 night the fire alarm got pulled 3 times. The kicker was, that it was my birthday, and for a present my gf (who lived on the floor above us) and another girl from that floor, decided to take a shower together.

Granted they were in their bathing suits but it was still so hot. We (a couple of us Wicomico guys) pretty much closed off one of the guys bathrooms so we could watch our show in peace.

Of course some jackass had to go pull the fire alarm 3 times, thus ruining the erotic shower. Freaking moron.

I would also like to say that I'm not trying to "brag " about the juvenile antics that occured in the dorm and rarely was it me and my group of friends who pulled fire alarms etc although we may have accidentally put a couple of holes in the all or inadvertently messed with Adel (who was in charge of keeping our floor clean, god bless her soul).

I will say though we (my roommate and I) loved waking up early on Saturday mornings (early being 9:30 or so) and blasting DMX's "Party Up" as loud as we could with our surround sound stereo until the entire dorm was woken up. We liked to think of ourselves as the rosters (I'm sure there's some sort of Freudian thing here) of the barn announcing it was time for everyone to get up and start the day.

Posted by: Poopy_McPoop | January 29, 2010 6:07 PM | Report abuse

also barno I like how you say that I "stalk" you for years? Funny. Not to mention that when you say you haven't responded to anything I've said when that obviously isn't the case considering you've responded to me a few times just this week.

Terp Station ring a bell? Your response to me (where you said "blah blah blah I usually don't respond to Poopy but I'll make an exception") defending yourself against old posts of yours that I reposted as a response to your old petecard posts you reposted.

I mean, again, yesterday was such a harmonious day on the blog. Someone said it was the greatest day on Terp Insider (and I agree it was) and than alot of that good will and fun times start to get washed away because you begin your baseless attacks because some other jackass created another fake user id.

I mean c'mon.

And I was all set to actually apologize for joking your "Captain Chaos" jersey. And you know what I will. I whole heatedly apologize for making fun of your choice of lettering/name on your jersey. Just because it's not something I would do doesn't mean I should make fun of it.

And believe me I love jerseys, I've got 7 of 'em including Art Monk, Cal Ripken, and Adam Jones (okay this one is the "jersey" tshirt, but still). There's a handful of other jerseys (Ben Olsen, Ovechkin, Fernando Torres) that I still want to get.

Up until a month or so ago I even still wanted an Arenas jersey (not anymore though) and if I didn't think Jamison and/or Butler wouldn't be traded soon I wouldn't mind either of their jerseys.

Just wanted to say sorry for the unnecessary jab at you about Captain Chaos. Who is a very nice guy, or atleast was when I met and talked to him at the 9:30 club a few years ago.

Posted by: Poopy_McPoop | January 29, 2010 6:16 PM | Report abuse

Finally, as for the Clemson game, someone else said they didn't understand why they think the Terps will easily roll and win this game, and I kinda agree.

We are playing at Little John (hard place to play) against a team that needs some wins soon or else they may see their NCAA tourney hopes fly out the window. This could be a very dangers game but if we continue to win the battle of rebounding and turnovers I think we should do okay.

As petecard said, we just need to take things one game at a time.

Posted by: Poopy_McPoop | January 29, 2010 6:19 PM | Report abuse

And whoever is posting under OG_Barno, barno-1 (or whatever it is) as well as the hyphen-poop you do deserve some credit for fooling some of the rubes on here. I'm sure you're laughing it up with everyone scrambling around trying to peg who the imposter really is and with the real posters trying to prove they are not the fake ones.

Posted by: Poopy_McPoop | January 29, 2010 6:21 PM | Report abuse

And c'mon Barno1, I never "slipped" when saying I was Wiggum. I did that voluntarily. And if the Post hadn't changed how it operates I'd still be posting as Wiggum.

As for O's Exec, I'm not him. Yeah heavens to betsy a few people actually root for the Orioles over the Nats on this site. But those that do all must be the same person....

Watch out Hugh, you've admitted your root for the O's too, so the accusations that you are the poster O's Exec will soon start flying.

Posted by: Poopy_McPoop | January 29, 2010 6:52 PM | Report abuse

And I (like I'm guessing everyone else did) saw the new fake barno post and simply ignored it.

Until one poster wanted to actually bring it up and give the imposter their time in the sun. Smart move.

Posted by: Poopy_McPoop | January 29, 2010 6:54 PM | Report abuse

Shhhh Poopy, I think you fooled everyone! 10 posts in a row on this subject Pooopy? I guess you don't watch many cop shows like Law N Order? The suspects that do all the talking are always the guilty ones. You just outed yourself. LMFAO!!! Not to mention where did fake barno go? Oh that's right, Poopy here and suddenly fake barno disappears. In the real world, people aren't as stupid/gullible as the characters in the superman/batman movies.

And yes I think it's fair to say you are obsessed with Barno1. Who are you trying to kid? Every time he writes anything you have to respond with some snarky/strange comment. You're just annoying dude.

Posted by: LilyTerp01 | January 29, 2010 8:09 PM | Report abuse

Spending over an hour writing dumb comebacks on a Tcollege basketball blog on a friday night? Poopy, yor are one fcking strange son of a b, that's all I gotta say.

Posted by: tscherer | January 29, 2010 8:25 PM | Report abuse

only early friday afternoon for me when i made those posts tsch. Of course I guess it's easy for some to forget that this country spans 6 time zones.

Not to mention that the internet can pretty much be seen world wide.

And I wouldn't argue that i'm a strange one.

And heavens to betsy lily that I actually address barno when he's the one that brings me up first. Nice that you conveniently leave that little part off your internet-rant.

but whatever.

Posted by: Poopy_McPoop | January 29, 2010 9:04 PM | Report abuse

Somebody's going down that's all I can say !!

Posted by: Barno_1 | January 29, 2010 11:38 PM | Report abuse

It's all too funny!

I don't care what you are doing Poopy...just be yourself and make everyone deal with it.

But one thing you ALL should know... the only team in baseball is the Yankees. Now THAT is an elite program! :)

Posted by: petecard | January 30, 2010 9:11 AM | Report abuse

Gary Williams should spend more time worrying about improving the Terps so he can get them off the bubble every year and less time trying to water down the best postseason in all of sports. I'm sorry, but the 9th place ACC team and 12 place Big East team don't deserve a shot at a national title.

Posted by: jab1978 | February 1, 2010 3:09 PM | Report abuse

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