Win your conference and you get a trophy. Win your conference tournament and you get a trophy and an automatic berth to the NCAA tournament.
One's the result of more than two months of beating rivals at home and on the road, sometimes after as many as 18 games. The other requires three or four wins at a neutral or semi-neutral site.
So I ask you? Which one's more difficult? Which one should have the higher reward?
The answer's obvious. So why does the tournament champ get that automatic bid?
That's the focus of this Jeff Goodman column, which opens with Delaware State's impressive MEAC run from 2005-2007. The Hornets won 32 of 36 league games in two seasons, yet never won the league tournament – and never went dancing.
"The regular-season champion should be rewarded," former Farleigh Dickinson coach Tom Green told Goodman. "The conference tournament is a crapshoot. You can have a star player that's carrying you sprain an ankle, and all that hard work over three or four months is gone down the drain."
The conference tournaments are a fabulous spectacle and the perfect way to prepare for the NCAA tournament. But what's wrong with rewarding teams for winning over the long haul?
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