I was pretty "meh" about expanding the NCAA tourney field to 96 teams, perhaps even slightly against it, until a conversation with my brother tonight. My view now is that it's a nice remedy to the overabundance of automatic bid small conferences.
Assuming the NCAA is going to incorporate the extra teams by giving the 1-8 seeds byes in the initial round of games, you've essentially just increased the play-in round. Seeds 9-24 will play an initial round to determine who advances to the first full round against seeds 1-8.
As it stands currently, no one past the 8th seed stands a very realistic chance of making it to the Final Four. You have somewhere around 15 small conferences who get auto bids to the tourament. History tells us that 5 of these schools will not advance past the first round (the 16 seeds and the play-in loser). Out of the remaining 10, maybe 1 or 2 will win in the rare 15-2, 14-3. or slightly-less rare 13-4 upset. Only about 5 teams ranked 13 or lower have made it past the 2nd round of the NCAA tournament.
What you need is a way to replace these schools with a higher quality opponent, and 96 teams provide this way. Most of the auto bids from the small conferences will be ranked in the 20's, and they will go up against at-large majors or mid-majors who come in at 9-11 seeds. Your new first round opponents for the 1-3 seeds will no longer be no-name pushovers from conferences you didn't know existed, but rather 14-19 seeds that could include, based off the current RPI, Memphis, Virginia Tech, Northwestern, or Notre Dame.
And for those folks who like to see the little dogs have their day, they'll still be there, in the form of UTEP, Kent State, Western Carolina, and Iona, who are also in that RPI range. Only now, there will be a much higher chance of seeing that #16 seed finally knock off a #1.
Is adding 32 teams to the field really necessary? No. None of the additional teams will be actual national championship contenders. But the NCAA tournament is a great thing, and if we get another round of games out of it, while upping the quality of the final field of 64, then I think that's, in the end, a good thing.