Adam Silver has a great idea for the NBA and it’s one that we’ve said we think the NCAA should do too: an in-season tournament.
In Silver’s vision, the league would have an eight-team tournament during the Christmas holiday with the best teams. The players would get a major bonus too.
In the NCAA’s case, that could be done with a sponsor now under NIL - say Gatorade. It could either be in the early part of the season or over Christmas.
We like the idea of it being a pre-season NIT tournament that features the most promising teams but it might work better at Christmas when it would draw more attention.
Done correctly, it could frame the season. Imagine Duke won that tournament and Tennessee finished a surprising second. It would be a major talking point for the rest of the year: could either team make it back? Could they be stopped?
It would be a really fun story line and could help the NCAA to, as we said, frame things.
Update: Barry points out to us that former Maryland coach Bud Milliken proposed having a Christmas tournament instead of the post-season ACC Tournament, and idea that obviously never happened.
And it’s also worth mentioning that from 1949-1960, the Dixie Classic was arguably the holiday tournament in the nation. It was held in Reynolds Coliseum, which also started in 1949, and featured the Big Four (Duke, UNC, NC State and Wake Forest, then still in Wake Forest) vs. four outside teams.
Sadly, the event, which was hugely popular, was ended after the point-shaving scandals of the early 1960s.