Do We Want The Play-In Game?

Despite last night's loss to Mizzou, it seems as though most of of us are pretty confident that we'll qualify for the NCAA tournament for the 14th consecutive year, much to the chagrin of the handful of Barnes-haters out there, and for an amazing 22nd time in 24 season. For those of us old enough to remember the Bob Weltlich era, "22 out of 24" is completely unfathomable.

For the purposes of this discussion, let's assume we're in, as every neutral bracketologist I've seen has the Horns in as well. There remains a pretty good chance, though, that we'll be one of the last four at-large teams selected, consequently leading us to be assigned to one of the play-in games.

As fans, this raises an interesting question: do we want that?

Discussion and poll after the jump...

When the NCAA expanded the tournament to 68 teams last season and created two play-in games for the last four at-large teams selected, my natural instinct was that the play-in game would be very undesirable, almost a Scarlet Letter of hoops mediocrity. Sharing a court with the Prairie View-LIU game to follow? No thanks. Adding a seventh game to what would already be close to an impossible task for a borderline tournament team? No thanks. Playing in the Round of 64, if we happened to win in Dayton, a team better rested than us? Might as well put the label of one-and-done on the team as soon as it leaves Ohio.

But I've sensed that a number of Horns fans are rooting for us to draw the extra game, and I certainly understand why. It'd be an extra game, in prime time, with full national television exposure. By seeding, it'd be the most winnable game we could imagine drawing in the tournament, since we'd playing a similar borderline team, unless we went on a hot streak and somehow drew a 13 or 14 seed in the Sweet 16. And at the end of the day, would it really matter if the Horns' tournament run ended in Dayton or just a couple of days later?

Most importantly, VCU last year quite clearly demonstrated that playing in Dayton not only doesn't mean certain doom in the Round of 64 but also can help give that extra spark of confidence needed to help propel a team all the way to the Final Four. Would VCU have made the same run without the boost provided by its play-in win?

So what will you be rooting for tomorrow when the brackets are announced? Dayton or straight to the Round of 64?

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