The way I see it, expanding the NCAA tournament will mostly benefit the established programs and conferences. When all is said and done, the little guy is still going to be the little guy. Coach K is on record as being in favor of an expanded tournament. Here’s why the bigger tournament is good for him and his team: it means the Blue Devils will face lower quality competition that has less rest.
The idea for the new tournament is that the top-32 teams will face a bracket similar to what has been in place in the past. Teams 33-96 (why not make it 97 so that one more team has a chance to play-in?) will essentially be in the “play-in” phase that currently only exists for seeds 64 and 65.
So for any team that is regularly an 8-seed or greater, they now stand to play not a team seeded between 33 and 64, but between 33 and 96. Every upset in the “play-in” phase of the tournament means that the top-32 will face lower seeded opponents.
Plus, all the “play-in” teams have to, you know, play in meaning they have to navigate through one more road win before they go on to meet their rested competition.
This is all the worse for teams like Clemson. Yes Clemson is more likely to appear in the NCAA tourney. And yes, it makes Clemson more likely to actually win a game in the tournament. But it makes it not any more likely that they will actually move beyond the current first round. And it certainly seems possible to make teams like Clemson worse off. But the Dukes of the world? Well it’s all hunky-dory for them.