By Chris DeMarco, Staff Writer

The National Collegiate Athletic Association made a proposal to finally expand the men’s basketball tournament — by only three spots. The total of 68 teams is far lower than the 96 many people had wanted the total number to be expanded to.

There are a lot of pros and cons that could be used to expanding the men’s tournament to 96 teams, but the NCAA believes that they reached a “happy-medium” with expanding the field to 68. But does expanding the field by three spots really create more excitement?

Adding four more spots, in my opinion, is a little strange.

What kind of excitement would allowing four more teams into the tournament create? The only logical way of using the extra three teams is to create some sort of play-in game for a select seed for each region. That seems to be the only possible way to make the expansion work.

The extra three spots has to be looked highly upon by smaller, “mid-major” schools like George Mason University and the rest of our Colonial Athletic Association counterparts. The fact still remains that only three extra spots is not enough.

Smaller schools, or “mid-majors” as ESPN likes to call us, haven’t been able to really have a voice until the last five years with our Patriots making it to the Final Four and the Butler Bulldogs falling an inch short of winning the national title this year.

Many big name coaches, like Jay Wright of the Villanova Wildcats and Jim Boeheim of the Syracuse Orange, believe that the tournament still needs to be bigger. It would make the tournament more exciting. Some believe that expanding it by 31 would “dilute” the tournament, which could not be more false.

This past tournament should prove that the more “mid-majors” you invite to “The Dance,” the more upsets and more excitement it would bring. Plus, from a CAA standpoint, more of our counterparts would be given a bigger chance to get in. If the tournament had been 96 spots this year, the William & Mary Tribe and VCU Rams would have easily been selected.

Essentially, the more teams that are allowed the opportunity to play for a national title, the more exciting the tournament will become. The more teams the tournament is expanded by, the bigger the opportunity for the “little guy.”

Plus, looking at it from a financial standpoint, an extra round of play would create millions of extra revenue for all the schools and conferences involved. The NCAA cannot go wrong with expanding the tournament. Regardless, any type of expansion of the tournament is a good thing.

Overall, adding three more spots is a good thing for everyone involved. It could be expanded a little bit more, but three is a good start. The NCAA is probably just seeing how this little bump in teams pans out for the first year.

If it turns out to be a success, the fans can count on the NCAA on finally expanding the total to 96 and giving every school a realistic shot at participating in the tournament.