Has anyone who shouts these expansion wishes genuinely thought this through with the good of college basketball in mind? Do you really want to go throwing out automatic bids to two teams from every conference? Do you really want to see Duke blow the bejesus out of, say, the St. Peter's Peacocks (128th in the RPI)? Do you really want to hear the obnoxious duo (Packer and Nantz) ramble on about how 23 seeds do well against 9 seeds?
If so, you need to lay off the oxycontin. Look, I know certain maniacal, senile, half-blind pundits like to roar about how every team in college basketball is "outstanding, baby!" but that just isn't the case. There are, in any given year, maybe 15 teams that merit a shot at the title. However many teams your laudanum-induced fantasies might have you believe deserve a shot to take those 15 down, I can almost guarantee it is well below 113. As is, it happens to work beautifully, and I don't even see the need to add one more game, nonetheless a whole round; the bubble-whiners will exist at any arbitrary level. Why not stick with a standard that works?
Right now, March has a lot working in its favor. First, conference tournaments and high-profile late-season games almost always mean something. Much of that vanishes with expansion. Wake Forest, the dead-last crappiest team in the ACC, had a 17-16 record last year with an RPI of 85. With them almost certainly in, what would the ACC's final weeks and tournament mean? Seeding? Oh, big deal. It's infinitely more exciting as do-or-die. Second, the tournament as is makes for great television and is ingrained in sports fans' minds. Two rounds, two rounds, Final Four. Games start Thursday, so schedule work around that. It's just sort of a golden rule that you don't mess with a winning television formula such as this. When would this extra round be played? Would another weekend be added to an already-packed season? Want to play them on Tuesday? Yeah, that works — just look at the ratings for that play-in game!
Most importantly, the quality of the basketball and the interest of fans both drop like rocks. Every game right now has a team nominally among the top 32 in the country, with either a great matchup or a badly-desired upset (like Kansas going down). Instead of those tenuous 8 vs. 9 seed games where a mediocre "big" school takes on an upstart mid-major, the lowest-seedeed games would become 16's and 17's slugging it out. How about South Alabama and Louisiana Tech hooping it up in Boise? Anyone?
Gripe all you want, coaches who don't want to be fired. Go ahead and point out that Division I has expanded to 320+ teams. Whose fault is that? Do you really want to make it so that 35-40% of all players each year go to the tournament, which is supposedly an honor and something to be cherished? Frankly, I don't. Every team that misses the tournament and whines did, at some point, blow it big time. So coaches, if you want to make the NCAA's, do it the honest way — by winning basketball games. For you, Leonard Hamilton, that means not getting your butt kicked in by Wake Forest, not losing to Miami, and maybe winning another road game or two. If anything, the NCAA should cut an at-large and get rid of that stupid play-in game.
Besides, it'd be too damn hard to fit 128 teams on one bracket sheet, anyway.