Originally Posted by Boston Red
They wanted to expand the Tournament from 65 to 68 teams, but they did not want to solely penalize the 16th seeds. Thus, they only added one more play-in game for the 16th seeds. Thus the four worst 16 seeds face off for 2 16 seeds. The other two play-in games are for the last four at-large teams to get it. Since they are basically the beneficiaries of the Tournament expanding to 68 teams, they can't really complain about facing off in the play-in games. There are presumably two 11 seeds because on or two of the 12 seeds got moved around on the seeding lines for reasons other than being worse than the 11 seeds in front of them (geography, avoid rematches, etc.).
So if I am following this correctly; if they had all play-in games for 16 seeds, then that would have involved the 8 lowest-ranked teams. And these 8 teams, more than likely, would have been the representatives of the minor conferences. I am assuming that the losers of these four play-in games are going to get the same amount of money as if they lost a first round game. So it would seem to me, just MO, that those teams would want to play in the play-in games. They would have the eyes of the nation upon them on Tuesday and Wednesday evening instead of just being cut in on from time to time as will likely happen on Thursday and Friday. There entire tourney experience would not have been a beat-down administered at the hands of the #1 seeds. And someone has to win those play-in games. So they would get to play a team more on their level and have a 50/50 chance of playing on Thursday or Friday anyway. Maybe I am misunderstanding, but that is how I see it.