When the “first four” for the NCAA tournament was introduced last year, many people thought it was unnecessary to have four more teams make the Big Dance.
The rationale was the tournament already took 64 teams, and the committee is just adding mediocrity into the postseason.
However, with VCU advancing from the “first four” to the final four last year and two historic comebacks Tuesday night, the round is here to stay.
Western Kentucky, with an egregious 16–18 record (11–18 before the Sun Belt Conference tournament) rallied from a 16-point hole in the final five minutes to overtake Mississippi Valley State.
Then, in the exact same building, BYU pulled off the biggest comeback in tournament history after overcoming a 25-point deficit to Iona.
Both BYU and Iona were among the last four in and would both be playing in the National Invitation Tournament without the “first four” round.
These recent games could wind up being the most dramatic contests during the entire tournament.
It’s about time these “play-in games” start to count on our brackets.