Jerry Palm made a simple yet bold proclamation before the MVC title game Sunday. The CBS Sports bracketologist said that whichever team lost – Wichita State or Illinois State – would not receive an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament.
Wichita State head coach Gregg Marshall was not happy about that. In fact, he called out Palm after Wichita State (30-4) beat Illinois State, 71-51.
“I was not surprised,” CBS Sports college basketball columnist Gary Parrish said on CBS Sports Radio’s The Doug Gottlieb Show. “A lot of coaches like to pretend they don’t read or they don’t hear or they don’t care or it’s all beneath them. Gregg doesn’t even pretend that. He’s very much aware of what people are saying and writing and tweeting, and when he’s got a chance to throw it back in your face, he’s the type of personality who will do that.”
Wichita State has won 21 of its last 22 games, including 15 straight.
“Listen, I think Jerry’s terrific. Jerry’s a friend of mine,” Parrish said. “I think Jerry was wrong about Wichita State. It is true: There are like a million brackets out there now, and basically all of them had Wichita State in. He didn’t, and so this is a point where Jerry and I disagreed. I defer to him on most topics, but I would have liked to have seen what would have happened if Wichita State would have lost in that MVC Tournament title game because it would have made for a spirited debate all week long. But I would have come down on the side of Wichita State should be in, and Wichita State will be in.”
Speaking of the NCAA Tournament, Parrish shared his strategy for improving March Madness.
“Here’s what I would do,” he began. “You got to keep the conference tournaments because they’re money-makers and they provide exposure that otherwise wouldn’t be there, and you’ve got to make it for a trip to the NCAA Tournament because otherwise it doesn’t mean what it means. But you also want to reward the regular season champion, the No. 1 seed, and make your regular season matter. How about this? How about the No. 1 seed in every traditional one-bid league – and I’ll let the leagues decide who’s who – gets an automatic bye to the championship game. In other words, everybody else is playing a tournament for the right to play you. That way there’s no getting upset in the quarterfinals or the semifinals. You’re going to play with an automatic bid on the line in your next game if you’re the No. 1 seed. And then I’ll take it a step further: You get a 10-0 lead to start the game.”
A 10-point lead? Really? Seems kind of arbitrary, no?
Doug Gottlieb was not on board with that.
“It’s not perfect,” Parrish admitted, “but if you want to make the regular season mean something but also give everybody a puncher’s chance in your conference tournament so you can have championship week, I think that’s at least better than what we’re doing right now.”