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3.30.2008

Home-court advantage in the NCAA tournament 

Every year various teams in the NCAA basketball tournament get shafted when the game venues are chosen. East #1 seed North Carolina just played four games in its home state, while South #1 seed Memphis gets to play #2 seed Texas in Texas for a spot in the Final Four. Meanwhile, scores of lower-seeded teams are forced to bear huge travel costs by flying cross-country for their games.

I think the NCAA really needs to smooth out these home-court inequities in the future -- either keep every team in its natural geographic region to cut down travel costs, or spread the travel burdens around equally. There is absolutely no reason for any team to be burdened with excessive travel or a significant home-court disadvantage.

However, in the libertarian spirit of this blog, I would propose another solution (which, needless to say, will never fly): when the selection committee selects its 64 65 teams, seed them 1-65 and let them choose, in order, which regional they want to play in. Obviously the very lowest seeds are still going to get screwed over, but it would be very interesting to see exactly how low a seed a team would be willing to take in exchange for playing close to home. I think avoiding a cross-country trip is easily worth a drop of one seed, and possibly two.

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