Badger Bits: Tourney expanding to 68 teams

The NCAA and CBS won't be getting a divorce afterall.

CBS and Turner Broadcasting have come together to sign a 14-year deal to broadcast the NCAA Tournament. The agreement creates a package similar to what ESPN could have provided: every game will be shown live across CBS, TBS, TNT and TruTV.

That means you can stop screaming at Greg Gumbel every time he switches games on you.

The biggest news in the new deal is that the NCAA announced today that the Division I Men's Basketball Committee has recommended increasing the tournament from 65 to 68 teams, which would create three more play-in games. The specifics -- including whether or not those play-games will be played between at-large teams or automatic qualifiers -- will be announced at a later date. The Division I Board of Directos will review the recommendation April 29.

Under the new television deal, CBS and Turner will split coverage of the first and second round, as well as the Sweet 16. CBS retains the rights to the Elite Eight, Final Four and Championship Game through 2015. Starting in 2016, CBS and Turner will each get two Elite Eight games and the Final Four will alternate between CBS and TBS every year.

Bo Ryan might use his extra scholarship this season. The Badgers are heavily recruiting former-Iowa commit Ben Brust, who was released from his scholarship with the Hawkeyes after Todd Lickliter was fired. Bo Ryan has offered Brust the scholarship vacated by Ian Markolf, who left the program earlier this month.

The 6-foot-2, 185-pound shooting guard would be a great addition for the 2010-11 season because the Badgers are dire need of guards after the graduation of Trevon Hughes and Jason Bohannon.

Brust was originally recruited by Wisconsin before Vander Blue gave Bo Ryan a verbal commitment. By the time Blue backed out of that commitment, Brust had committed to Iowa.

Northwestern and Minnesota have also offered Brust scholarships, but there is a Big Ten rule that might force him out of the conference. Brust apparently wants to stay in the Big Ten, but the conference prohibits student-athletes from getting a scholarship to a conference school if he or she signs with another conference school.

Apparently the Big Ten is strongly considering waiving the rule in the case of the Iowa recruits. If that happened, one would think Wisconsin would have an edge over both Minnesota and Northwestern.

Camp Randall will host another night game in 2010. The Badgers announced yesterday that their Oct. 16th meeting with Ohio State will start at 6 p.m. CT and be broadcasted on either ESPN or ESPN2. It's the second night game on UW's 2010 slate as its Sept. 4 game at UNLV gets underway at 10 p.m. CT.

The NFL Draft gets underway tonight and while no Badgers are expected to go Thursday in the first round, one or two might get drafted Friday in the second or third rounds. A numbers of former Badgers should at least be drafted by Saturday. Two of those players include Chris Maragos and Jaevery McFadden who have been writing draft updates for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. You can find Maragos' most recent update here and McFadden's here.

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