Maybe 64 teams is enough
Or at least the committee should be allowed to have the option of deciding if a few extra spots in the bracket are determined. For instance, in this year with a weak bubble, they could go down to 64 teams if they wanted without interfering with the bracket. If it were a strong bracket like last year and the first season when they moved up to 68, they could do that. They could pick anywhere in between as well, because you shouldn't just keep adding at large teams just to do so.
I understand it's good for ratings to do it, but does anybody actually watch the two 16-seed games (by the way, conference champions shouldn't have to "play-in", but that's a different matter)? They probably just watch the 11 seeds or 12 seeds face off, and that to me sounds a lot like the NIT. This year, the bracket is at an all-time low (or high) when it comes to the number of losses for teams making the tournament. Only one team in the whole country remains with less than three losses, one team has three losses, and there are just a handful of four-loss teams. Teams with eight losses or more are potential one-seeds, or even title favorites. But, what concerns me most are the last four in, and here is why.
I'm going to assume that Rhode Island beats VCU and makes the tournament just to make this about only power conference teams. Marquette, Kansas State, Wake Forest and Vanderbilt are the last four in, while California, Illinois State, Georgia and Iowa are the first four out. Xavier and Providence are on the good side of the bubble, or in the tournament, while Syracuse, Monmouth and Illinois are near the next four out. None of those teams have had worthwhile seasons, except maybe the three from the Big East and Illinois State, to earn a bid. Here's Jerry Palm's last three and first out, and hopefully you'll see why they don't deserve a spot.
KANSAS STATE: 20-13 (8-10 in Big 12)
Kansas State has had a solid season, they have two wins over the Baylor Bears and a home win over West Virginia. 11 of their losses are to Big 12 teams, and all but two teams are solid or better, and their non-conference losses are a neutral game with Maryland and at Tennessee. Non-conference wins? Colorado State? Washington State? Nebraska Omaha? They have none against tournament teams, and assuming TCU doesn't make it, have four total losses to non-tournament teams. Their non-conference SOS is 230, so don't give me they played a tough schedule. They don't have a top 50 RPI, which is usually a requirement for at-large teams, and they have really just been the definition of "meh" the whole season.
WAKE FOREST: 19-13 (9-9 in ACC)
Sure, Wake Forest is 1-7 vs. the top 25, and the only win was at home against Louisville, and they might just be a victim of their conference. Still, their three best non-conference wins are Bucknell, College of Charleston and at Richmond, so they haven't really beaten anybody. Going 9-9 is impressive in the ACC, but when four of those wins are Boston College and NC State and two more are Pittsburgh and Georgia Tech, it looks less impressive. They played a pretty tough schedule throughout, so they have that, but they only have one quality win.
VANDERBILT: 19-15 (10-8 in SEC)
They SEC is hot garbage again, and the fact that Vanderbilt and Alabama made the semifinals shows how bad this conference still is. The 5-6 record vs. the top 25 is deceiving, three of those are the overrated Florida Gators, and one is an SEC opponent, Arkansas. Iowa State is the fifth win, and it's decent, but it was at home. The two next best non-conference wins are Belmont, and Santa Clara. This team also lost at Missouri, who is an RPI 255 and has been on a three year struggle. Somehow their strength of schedule is the best in the country, but I don't see how that's possible with them not being in the Big East, ACC or Big 12. I don't even care if they have had the toughest schedule anyways, because they have 15, FIFTEEN, losses. (Here is who they beat non-conference: Iowa State, Belmont, Santa Clara, Chattanooga, Tennessee State, High Point, Norfolk State;;losses: Butler, Minnesota, Dayton, Middle Tennessee, Marquette, Bucknell). How that is the toughest schedule combined with the SEC schedule is beyond me.
CALIFORNIA: 21-12 (10-8 in Pac-12)
Why people believe the Pac-12 is bad is a bit beyond me, because the top half is full of really strong teams. California is 0-7 vs. the top 25 and has only six top 100 wins, and a loss to RPI 98, 99 and 100 (that's weird right?). Still, they have the 33rd toughest non-conference schedule, and the 45th overall, which should have them on the right side of the bubble over Vandy or Wake Forest, correct? No, because of East-Coast bias.
Hopefully you can see now that a lot of these teams don't deserve chances, and the ones below Cal (like Syracuse, Georgia and Iowa) are even worse. Illinois State is a tricky one, because although they have a great record, one that is better than North Carolina's, they only have wins over Wichita State (who they lost to twice as well) and New Mexico among the top 100. That hurts them, along with a couple bad losses. Still, teams with over 200% more losses than the Redbirds are considered, and that's what's most blasphemous about this year's selection. Just bring it down a few teams this year, and put in teams that deserve it.