There is an old saying, "If it ain't broke don't fix it". It seems like a simple concept but man do people feel really innovative when they decide to go ahead and fix it any way. Last night my wife asked me to fix an old clock, what was wrong with it? The hour hand was slightly misaligned. Now to my wife's credit if I had told her "It's an old plastic clock, if I try to fix it I'll probably break it for good" she would have looked at the clock and said, "Ok its working fine"
But did I? Noooo I took one look at this ten year old molded plastic clock and thought "What's the worst that can happen" Surely I could fix this. Today I need a new clock. It's also like that time I noticed our neighbors dog seemed to have a little trouble climbing the stairs, man Ill never try amature vet work again, but thats a different story.
It's somewhat coincidental that weeks after I crippled a dog*, and hours after I broke a clock, that the brain trust in the Mid American Conference offices decided to mess with the MAC Basketball tournament. Because we all know the one thing that really needs fixing in the MAC tournament is the seeding order, yup now were ready to start putting multiple bids in at the dance.
What exactly did they decided to do?Did they cut out the bottom two teams to help with RPI? Did they move everything back to on campus? No, they set up a new system for the bye's.
Under the old system the #'s 1-4 teams all got a bye into the quarter finals and the 5-12 teams played on campus games with the winner going to Cleveland. Not a perfect system but the on campus games were a nice touch and it did spare the top four teams from playing the bottom two or three in the conference. Lately that has shaved a sub 300 RPI game off of the schedules of the better MAC teams.
The new world is slightly different:
Recently approved by the Conference’s Council of Director of Athletics, the new format will seed both tournaments by rewarding the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds with a bye into the semifinal round, while the No. 3 and No. 4 seeds will receive a bye to the quarterfinal round. -- Mid American Conference
So now you're going to ask the lowest seeded teams to win in the opening rounds, the quarters, the semis and the finals versus just two games for seeds #1 and 2. Why? When was the last time a 10 seed did any real damage?
The one real benefit built into this is the straight seeding done for the MAC tournament. In season past the west champion has automatically seeded number two, even if they were at best the sixth or seventh best team in the conference. The chances of a true #1 versus #2 championship just went up, significantly. But at what cost?
Asking any team to play four games while their conference mates play just two? Plus the travel? This is a flashy change which really does not enhance the conferences shot at more than one bid.
* No dogs were actually hurt, or were they?