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Posted on Wed, Apr 28, 2010 : 9:25 a.m.

Michigan men's basketball coach John Beilein was 'surprised' by NCAA tournament expansion to 68 teams

By Michael Rothstein

A few weeks ago, Michigan coach John Beilein was convinced that the NCAA men’s basketball tournament would expand to 96 teams.

The third-year Michigan coach had long been against such a move, preferring the 65-team model. When the NCAA announced last week that it’d likely move to 68 teams in a vote of the NCAA Board of Directors this week, Beilein was a little stunned.


Michigan basketball coach John Beilein says he is happy with what how the NCAA is moving toward expansion of the NCAA men's basketball tournament. (File photo)

The NCAA recommended the expansion to 68 teams to the board as part of a 14-year, $10.8 billion television deal with CBS and Turner.

“I was surprised,” Beilein said. “Because everything that I was hearing, not that it was a done deal but it really seemed like it was going to happen. I wish that, whenever we went to the NIT and went to the third round, we were like one of the last teams that didn’t get in.

“I wish it could be retroactive.”

It isn’t, but the smaller expansion will also mean the likely preservation of the second-tier National Invitation Tournament. Beilein won the 2007 NIT in his final season at West Virginia and has often said how much that tournament has helped his teams.

“At Canisius and at West Virginia, the NIT runs that we had set the stage for great seasons in the future,” Beilein said. “So the NIT has always been special.

“If we were going to 96, the NIT might have become obsolete and I didn’t want to see that happen.”

Beilein, though, said he wouldn't fight against more expansion. He instead praised the people that run the NCAA tournament and said he believes in their ability to make good decisions.

He didn’t have any opinion, either, on how the three-team expansion should be implemented. One thought is to have eight teams play for the No. 16 seeds in each region - almost assuredly meaning eight one-bid leagues will be in play-in games.

The other thought is to have eight bubble teams play for No. 12 or 13 seeds. These games would likely include teams from power conferences or strong mid-majors.

“All I know the NCAA, the way they seeded it and the way they’ve conducted the tournament, they have a great formula for success,” Beilein said. “I don’t think I know enough about that to even comment on it. All I know is they’ll find the right way and if it isn’t the right way, they’ll fine-tune some things.

“They’ve done a great job with that lately where people aren’t traveling all over the place and it wasn’t too long ago where if Syracuse had a regional, they were also in it. They’ve really made great changes to the NCAA tournament over the years, and I have a lot of faith in them.”

Michael Rothstein covers University of Michigan basketball for He can be reached at (734) 623-2558, by e-mail at or follow along on Twitter @mikerothstein.



Wed, Apr 28, 2010 : 12:47 p.m.

Horrible coach.


Wed, Apr 28, 2010 : 10:46 a.m.

He wasn't surprised, he was sad, cause any mid major with a 15-17 record could get it if there were 96 teams. Now he's crying 96 tears.


Wed, Apr 28, 2010 : 10:29 a.m.

Beilein was quoted as saying that he wished it was 96 so his team might of a chance at making the dance


Wed, Apr 28, 2010 : 10:21 a.m.

Is he still UMs basketball coach? I thought sure theyd have fired him by now after his coaching debacle that ended our season. Here is my musical tribute to Coach B. Johnny B. Gone (Sung to the tune of Chuck Berry's all-time rock 'n Roll classic, "Johnny B. Goode") Way up in Ann Arbor where the cold winds blow, Where winters usually gives us several feet of snow, There lives a head coach named John Beilien, Who tricked us into thinking everything was fine, And now hes gone and added to our misery, By snatching defeat from jaws of victory. Well go, go Johnny go! Go, go Johnny go! Go, go Johnny go! Go, go Johnny go! Go, Johnny B. gone! He led us to the tournament of the Big Ten, Where we played the Buckeyes and we thought wed win, All the Maize Rage had begun to shout, Because they thought that Johnny B. would pull it out, But Johnny B. committed coachings cardinal sin, By not guarding the guy that would throw the ball in. Well go, go Johnny go! Go, go Johnny go! Go, go Johnny go! Go, go Johnny go! Go, Johnny B. gone! The new AD should send him back to Morgantown, Then we would all be smiling stead of wearing frowns, He didnt know theyd throw the ball to Evan T., Whod dribble up the court and then put a three, Turners thee pointer sounded our death knell, As Johnny put us through 2.2 seconds of hell. (Repeat chorus) (Fade) Willievine Berry 2010