Yahoo Sports’ Dan Wetzel and Sports Illustrated’s Pat Forde discuss whether or not teams, especially top teams, should play in their conference tournaments.
DAN WETZEL: So the Big 12 is going to finish their season by basically scheduling games on the fly.
PAT FORDE: [LAUGHS]
DAN WETZEL: I don't know if you saw the Baylor-West Virginia game later this week was canceled, postponed. Who knows? What do you think? We got to get this done. Should we have conference tournaments? Should we just have this kind of bit where-- they've been doing this in college hockey. I know in the Hockey East they're basically like, you know, be on notice, man. Like, drop of a hat. Providence, you're driving to Maine tonight and you're playing tomorrow. Like, if we can squeeze these-- thoughts on this kind of policy the Big 12's employing and what is the rest of the season going to look like?
PAT FORDE: Well, I mean, it's chaos everywhere. And that's-- what the leagues are all trying to do, and we saw them do it to some degree in football-- is to cram in games to meet their TV inventory numbers so that they get their full media rights payout from the networks. Or at least whatever they-- maybe not full, but whatever they were hoping for.
So there is a lot of pressure from the networks to the conference office, and then from the conference office to the schools. Hey, you want the check for $40 million, or do you want a check for $26 million? Or whatever the drop off would be. And they're like, oh, we want the big check. And then the coaches are like, wait a minute. Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa. You want us to play three games a week for three weeks and then go to the conference tournament and then go to the NCAA tournament? So that's where the tension lies.
You know, I think a lot of these places would be better off punting the conference tournament, but they don't want to because people do watch those. I mean, college basketball doesn't rate a lot, but when you get to March and you get conference tournaments-- you know, when the Big East is playing in Madison Square Garden and the ACC's playing in Greensboro and the Big 10's playing in Indy, people will watch. And so they want those games and they want the tournaments.
I don't think a lot of the schools specifically do. I mean, if you're Gonzaga you want no part of it. If you're Baylor you want no part of it. You're trying to win a national championship. And all this does is give you one more chance for people to catch the virus. So I think they're going to push to play. I think they're going to play most of the games. I think they're going to have the conference tournaments. And I think it could be-- very well be a big mess.
DAN WETZEL: It's going to be wild, but the key is get everybody to Indy and cross your fingers.
PAT FORDE: Yeah.
DAN WETZEL: You know, this is tough. Unlike-- you know, football you can play down a few guys. It's hard in basketball. And if it's the wrong guys you're cooked. So--
PAT FORDE: Yeah.
DAN WETZEL: --the Fauci Cup standings are going to be a big factor.
PAT FORDE: [LAUGHS]
Huge. I mean, can you imagine? Like, Gonzaga who's undefeated and can sleepwalk through Vegas-- where, by the way, they are having ten conference tournaments in Las Vegas. Five conferences are having men and women. The Western West Coast Conference, the Pac-12, and the Mountain West that are always there. Plus the WAC and somebody else moved there. The Big West. They all moved there because their tournaments are in California and California says, no, no. We're not doing it. So you're going to have 10 tournaments there. What could go wrong? I'm sure everybody's going to come out of that perfectly healthy. But if Gonzaga, you know, you want Jalen Suggs and Corey Kispert play in nothing games and possibly risking their health when you're trying to win your first title ever the next week? I don't get it.