Here is a look at what a 96-team bracket might have looked like this season.
Presumably, because of the 31-team addition to the field, the NCAA would re-write some of the rules governing matchups in the tournament. You'd have to think there would be a rule against teams from the same leagues meeting in the first round, but it likely would be "all bets are off" after the first round.
Indications are that the top eight seeds - 32 teams - would receive first-round byes, with No. 9 seeds playing No. 24 seeds, No. 10 seeds playing No. 23 seeds, No. 11s playing No. 22s, No. 12s playing No. 21s, No. 13s playing No. 20s, No. 14s playing No. 19s, No. 15s playing No. 18s and No. 16s playing No. 17s.
In the scenario described, the top team in a seeded group would meet the bottom team in its adjoining seeding group, the second team in a group would meet the second-worst in the group and so on. For example, No. 9 Northern Iowa would meet No. 24 Arkansas-Pine Bluff, No. 9 Wake Forest would play No. 24 Winthrop, No. 9 Louisville would face No. 24 Lehigh and No. 9 Florida State would meet No. 24 East Tennessee State.
In the second round, it would be No. 1s playing 16/17s, No. 2s playing 15/18s, etc.
The first two rounds would take place on the first weekend of the tournament, with the "traditional" Thursday-Sunday setup.
The third round would take place on the following Tuesday and Wednesday; the fourth round (the Sweet 16 games) would take place on Thursday and Friday, while the fifth round (the Elite Eight games) would happen on Saturday and Sunday. The Final Four would be the following weekend.
Here is how the field may have shaped up this season:
83. Saint Louis
85. Sam Houston State
87. Ohio University
88. UC Santa Barbara
89. Morgan State
90. Robert Morris
91. North Texas
93. East Tennessee State
96. Arkansas-Pine Bluff
BREAKDOWN BY LEAGUE
(When looking at the numbers, remember that this was a down season in the Pac-10 and SEC.)
13: Big East (in the "real" tournament, the league received eight bids)
9: ACC (six)
8: Big 12 (seven)
7: Atlantic 10 (three), Big Ten (five)
6: Conference USA (two), SEC (four)
4: Colonial (one), Mountain West (four), WAC (two)
3: Missouri Valley (one), Pac-10 (two), West Coast (two)
2: Mid-American (one)
1: America East, Atlantic Sun, Big Sky, Big South, Big West, Horizon, Ivy, Metro Atlantic, Mid-Eastern Athletic, Northeast, Ohio Valley, Patriot, Southern, Southland, Southwestern Athletic, Summit, Sun Belt (each of these 17 leagues received one this season).
NOTE: Of the 31 added bids, 14 would've gone to Big Six leagues - five to the Big East, three to the ACC, two each to the Big Ten and SEC and one each to the Big 12 and Pac-10. Of the other 17, four each would've gone to the Atlantic 10 and Conference USA, three to the Colonial, two each to the Missouri Valley and WAC and one each to the MAC and West Coast.
Mike Huguenin is the college sports editor for Rivals.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.