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MIDWEST NOTEBOOK / Boeheim: It's Time to Expand

Dayton, Ohio - Jim Boeheim challenged the NCAA Tournament

selection committee yesterday to consider adding teams to the tournament field.

"I think we're almost at the point where we need to expand the tournament

again," Boeheim said. "I'm a little surprised that people aren't talking about

it more."

The NCAA expanded the tournament to 64 teams in 1985 and has kept basically

the same format ever since.

"It's indisputable that there's at least 50 percent more good teams playing

today than there were 15 years ago," Boeheim said. "There's always going to be

teams left out. But I think this year and last year there's been a few teams

that have been left out that could have won some games."

Boeheim also took issue with Big East commissioner Mike Tranghese, who is

chairman of the selection committee. Tranghese recently said the committee

would place more importance on strength of schedule when picking the tournament

field. Boeheim said that is unrealistic.

Many mid-major programs-Hofstra, for example-will have trouble scheduling

games against major schools if those teams feel they will be penalized for

playing lesser opponents.

"The strength of schedule is the biggest baloney I've ever heard in my

life," Boeheim said. "It's one thing not scheduling and it's another thing not

being able to schedule anybody."

Illini's McClain Is OK

Illinois forward Sergio McClain, who bruised his shin in the first-round

victory over Northwestern State, practiced yesterday and is expected to be 100

percent for the second-round game against Charlotte.

New York Sports