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March Madness First Four - Why do they do it?


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I'm sure they have a good reason why they do it, but it still seems particularly crazy:

The “First Four” is a relatively new addition to the NCAA tournament, beginning when the field expanded to 68 teams back in 2011. Instead of changing the beloved format, the NCAA decided to have these additional four contenders play for the right to join the traditional Round of 64.

VCU proved right off the bat that these squads can be dangerous, making a run all the way to the Final Four after participating in a First Four contest as a No. 11 seed.

I'm guessing they did it to expand the field from 64 to 68. This also gives them a way to expand even more in the future.

It doesn't prevent a team from making a deep run. VCU proved they could go from First Four to Final Four.

But First Four is still odd:

1. Why is it not all 16th seeds?

2. Why penalize the eight teams playing the First Four games by giving everyone else much-needed rest?

3. Why does each region not get its own First Four game? This year one region has 2 and one has none.

Bizarre.

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