Behold the 96-team field

Tournament expansion has been a roundly panned idea, mostly for one reason: No one wants to watch teams 66 through 96 play a bunch of low-quality, NIT level basketball. It really comes down to that. There are reasons you could list for expansion, and some of them are valid (chief among them the NCAA's desire to make more money, which isn't necessarily a bad thing). But the bottom line is that very few people like the idea of expanding the NCAA tournament, because expanding the NCAA tournament means shoehorning the NIT into the NCAA. Even in vague form, it's not a very attractive idea.

How about in not-so-vague form? College Gameday asked Joe Lunardi to project a 96-team field on this morning's show. He did so. Here are some of bracketology-esque elements that resulted. A word of warning -- if you weren't against tournament expansion already, you might be now:


• Big East (13)

• ACC (8)

• Big 12 (8)

• Atlantic 10 (6)

• Big Ten (6)

• SEC (6)

• Conference USA (5)

• Missouri Valley (5)

• Colonial (4)

• Mountain West (4)

• Pac-10 (4)

• WAC (4)

• West Coast (3)

• Metro-Atlantic (2)

• Mid-American (2)


• Missouri State

• North Carolina

• Arizona

• Akron


• Charleston


• Wright State

• Fairfield

Gross, right? Do you have a losing record in the Missouri Valley? Not a problem! A major program going struggling to stay above .500 in a down year? Come on down! Are you, um, Fairfield? Great! You're all in the tournament! Woo-hoo! Expansion, baby!

I'm probably be a little bit too snarky here, so you'll have to forgive me. I'm just a little, I don't know, shocked? Talking about tournament expansion -- which, again, I'm not 100 percent against -- and actually seeing that expansion in action are two entirely different things. I get the pro-expansion arguments, but really? 13 Big East teams? Who, besides those teams' coaches, want this? And why?