With a 68-team field, you still have to earn your way in; even those fringe teams in the “First Four” play-in round. And it’s clear that some of those fringe teams are closing the talent gap with the top seeds. Those upsets are what make the tournament exciting from start to finish. Last year at least one team seeded ninth through 15th pulled off an upset, and number nine Wichita State made it all the way to the Final Four.
By expanding the field, yeah, you’d get more upsets, but you’d also see WAY more boring blowouts. We’re still waiting for a number 16 seed to upset a number one; how long do you think we’d have to wait for a number 125 seed to upset a number one? It’s just not going to happen.
Besides, what would we even nickname the first round? “The Nifty 350?” Come on.