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PRINCIPLES AND PROCEDURES FOR ESTABLISHING THE BRACKET 2013-14
There are three phases to the process:
I. Select the 36 best at-large teams;
II. Seed the field of 68 teams; and
III. Place the teams into the championship bracket.
Process Principles for Selection, Seeding and Bracketing
The Selection, Seeding and Bracketing process for the Division I Men’s Basketball Championship adheres to the following principles:
The committee endeavors to achieve reasonable competitive balance in each region of the bracket;
The committee selects the 36 best teams not otherwise automatic qualifiers for their conference to fill the at-large berths. There is no limit on the number of at-large teams the committee may select from one conference;
A committee member (“member”) shall not be present during any discussion regarding the selection or seeding of a team the individual represents as an athletics director or commissioner;
A member is permitted to answer only general, factual questions about teams in the conference the individual represents;
At no point in the process shall a member vote for a team the individual represents as an athletics director or commissioner;
Any principle can be relaxed if two or more teams from the same conference are among the last four at-large teams selected to the field to participate in the First Four;
All votes will be by secret ballot.
Among the resources available to the committee are complete box scores, game summaries and notes, pertinent information submitted on a team’s behalf by its conference, various computer rankings, injury reports, head-to-head results, chronological results, Division I results, non-conference results, home, away and neutral results, rankings, polls and the NABC regional advisory committee rankings.
I. Selecting At-Large Teams
1. Initial Ballot
a. Prior to the selection meeting, each committee member receives an “initial ballot” comprised of two columns listing all eligible Division I teams in alphabetical order.
2. Each committee member will submit the ballot by a designated time on the first full day of selection meetings:
a. In the first column, each member shall identify not more than 36 teams that, in that member’s opinion, should be at- large selections (AL) in the tournament based upon play to date, regardless of whether the team could eventually represent its conference as the automatic qualifier.
b. In the second column, each member shall identify all teams that should receive consideration (C) for an at- large berth. There is no minimum or maximum limit in the second column; however, only teams meriting serious consideration should receive votes.
3. Any team receiving all but two of the eligible votes in Column 1 (AL) is moved into the tournament field as an at-large selection.
4. The committee will form an "under- consideration” board consisting of an alphabetical listing of teams that:
a. Received at least three votes in either of the columns of the initial ballot but did not receive enough votes to be an at- large team; or
b. Won or shared the regular-season conference championship, as determined by the conference’s tie-break policy where applicable. This does not include teams that won or shared a division title but were not the regular-season conference champion.
5. A team may be removed from the “under- consideration” board at any time if it receives all but two eligible votes.
6. A team may be added to the “under- consideration” board at any time provided it receives at least three eligible votes.
7. Verbal nominations are permitted.
1. The committee then begins evaluating those teams on the “under-consideration” board.
2. Each committee member will select the best eight teams from the “under-consideration” board, in no particular order, to be added to the at-large field:
a. When 20 or more teams are under consideration in “list” ballots, each member shall select eight teams;
b. When 14 to 19 teams are under consideration, each member shall select six teams;
c. When 13 or fewer teams are under consideration, each member shall select four teams.
3. When 24 or fewer teams remain in the pool of teams (during the selection or seeding process), a member may not participate in “list X teams” votes if a team he or she represents as a commissioner or athletics director is included in the “pool.”
4. The eight teams receiving the most votes comprise the next at-large ballot.
5. Committee members then rank the eight teams, using a “ranking” scoring system (i.e., the best team is valued at one point).
6. The four teams receiving the fewest points shall be added to the at-large field. The other four teams will be held for the next ballot.
7. Each committee member then submits a list of the best eight teams remaining on the “under-consideration” board to be added to the at-large field. The four teams with the highest vote totals are added to the teams carried over from No. 6 to comprise the next at-large ballot.
8. Steps No. 5, 6 and 7 will be repeated until all at-large berths are filled.
9 If a team fails to be included among the four teams receiving the fewest points (Step No. 6) for two consecutive ”rank” ballots, it shall be returned to the “under- consideration” board, without prejudice.
10. At any time during the process, the number of teams eligible to receive votes may be increased or decreased by the chair if circumstances warrant. Further, the chair has the option to revise the number of teams from four to two to be moved into at- large berths per No. 6.
11. A team may be removed from the at-large field by a vote of all but two of the eligible votes. Such a team would be returned to the “under-consideration” board, without prejudice.
12. At any time during the process of selecting the at-large teams, the committee may elect to begin seeding the teams (Section II). This allows the committee to proceed while allowing time for results of games played during selection weekend.
II. Seeding Teams
The committee will create a “seed list” (i.e. rank of the teams in “true seeds” 1 through 68) which reflects the relative qualitative assessment of the field in descending order, and is used to assess competitive balance of the top teams across the four regions of the championship. The seed list reflects the sequential order with which teams will be placed in the bracket. Once the “seed list” is finalized, it remains unchanged while the bracket is assembled.
Importantly, various principles may preclude a team from being placed in its “true” seed position in the bracket.
Procedures for Seeding
1. Each committee member will submit a list of the best eight teams, in no particular order, from teams that are in the tournament as automatic qualifiers or at-large selections:
a. When 20 or more teams remain to be seeded, each member shall list eight teams;
b. When 14 to 19 teams remain, each member shall list six teams;
c. When 13 or fewer teams remain, each member shall list four teams.
2. Note: When 24 or fewer teams remain to be seeded, a member may not participate in “list X teams” ballots if a team he or she represents as a commissioner or athletics director is included in the “pool.”
3. The eight teams receiving the most votes comprise the next seed list ballot.
4. Committee members rank the eight teams from No. 1, using a “ranking” scoring system (i.e., the best team is valued at one point).
5. The four teams receiving the fewest points are moved onto the seed list in ascending order of vote total. The other four teams are held for the next rank ballot.
6. Each committee member then submits a list of the best eight remaining teams that are in the tournament as automatic qualifiers or at-large selections. The four teams with the highest vote totals are added to the teams carried over from No. 4 to comprise the next seed list ballot.
7. Steps No. 3, 4 and 5 are repeated until all the teams are seeded.
8. After a team has been voted into the seed list, it may be moved by a simple majority of eligible votes. This “scrubbing” of the seed list allows the committee to affirm true seed accuracy throughout selection weekend and ultimately, in the bracket.
9. The committee is not obligated to assemble the seed list in sequential order. For example, the committee may use the procedures to determine the fourth quadrant of teams at any time.
III. Building the Bracket
Sixteen levels are established (i.e., the seeds, 1 through 16) in the bracket that cross the four regions, permitting evaluation of four teams simultaneously on the same level. Teams on each seed line (No. 1, No. 2, No. 3, etc.) should be as equal as possible.
Each region is divided into quadrants with four levels in each, permitting the evaluation of four different sections within each region against the same sections in each of the other regions.
The committee will assign all four teams in each bracket group (seeds 1, 16, 8, 9), (4, 13, 5, 12), (2, 15, 7, 10), (3, 14, 6, 11) to the same second/third-round site. There will be two ”pods‟ at each second-/third-round site which may feed into different regional sites.
Each of the first four teams selected from a conference shall be placed in different regions if they are seeded on the first four lines.
Teams from the same conference shall not meet prior to the regional final if they played each other three or more times during the regular season and conference tournament.
Teams from the same conference shall not meet prior to the regional semifinals if they played each other twice during the regular season and conference tournament.
Teams from the same conference may play each other as early as the third round if they played no more than once during the regular season and conference tournament.
To recognize the demonstrated quality of such teams, the committee shall not place teams seeded on the first four lines at a potential “home-crowd disadvantage” in the second round.
The last four at-large teams selected to the field, as well as teams seeded 65 through 68, will be paired to compete in first-round games on Tuesday and Wednesday following the announcement of the field. (The final at-large team selected will be paired with the second-to-last AL section; the third-to-last AL selection vs. the fourth-to-last selection; seed 65 vs. 66; seed 67 vs. 68).
The winners of the first-round games will advance to a second-round site to be determined by the committee during selection weekend. In the event a first-round site is also a second- and third-round site, the winners of first-round games may be assigned to that site, regardless of the days of competition.
Teams will remain in or as close to their areas of natural interest as possible. A team moved out of its natural area will be placed in the next closest region to the extent possible. If two teams from the same natural region are in contention for the same bracket position, the team ranked higher in the seed list shall remain in its natural region.
A team will not be permitted to play in any facility in which it has played more than three games during its season, not including conference post-season tournaments.
A host institution’s team shall not be permitted to play at the site where the institution is hosting. However, the team may play on the same days when the institution is hosting.
Teams may play at a site where the conference of which it is a member is serving as the host.
A team may be moved up or down one (or in extraordinary circumstances) two lines from its true seed line (e.g., from the 13 seed line to the 12 seed line; or from a 12 seed line to a 13 seed line) when it is placed in the bracket if necessary to meet the principles.
Procedures for Placing the Teams into the Bracket
1. The committee will place the four No. 1 seeded teams 1 through 4 in each of the four regions, thus determining the Final Four semifinals pairings (overall 1 vs. 4; 2 vs. 3).
2. The committee will then place the No. 2 seeds in each region in true seed list order.
3. The committee will then place the No. 3 seeds in each region in true seed list order.
4. The committee will then place the No. 4 seeds in each region in true seed list order.
5. After the top four seed lines have been assigned, the committee will review the relative strengths of the regions by adding the “true seed” numbers in each region to determine if any severe numerical imbalance exists. Generally, no more than five points should separate the lowest and highest total.
6. In “true seed” order, the committee then assigns each team (and, therefore, all teams in its bracket group—e.g., seeds 1, 8, 9, 16) to second-/third-round sites.
7. The committee will then place seeds Nos. 5-16 in the bracket, per the principles. The four teams assigned to the seed line, 5 through 16, will have the same numerical value.
If possible, rematches of non-conference regular-season games should be avoided in the First Four and second round.
If possible, after examining the previous two years’ brackets, teams or conferences will not be moved out of its natural region or geographic area an inordinate number of times.
If possible, rematches from the previous two tournaments should be avoided in the second round.
Rating Percentage Index (RPI)
Several independent elements are combined to produce the RPI. These elements are a part of the statistical information that may or may not be utilized by each member in any manner they choose.
The RPI is one of many resources/tools available to the committee in the selection, seeding and bracketing process. Computer models cannot accurately evaluate qualitative factors such as games missed by key players or coaches, travel difficulties, the emotional effects of specific games, etc.
Beginning each January, the NCAA will release the official RPI on a weekly basis at www.ncaa.com.
Each committee member independently evaluates a vast amount of information during the process to make individual decisions. It is these qualitative, quantitative and subjective opinions -- developed after hours of personal observations, discussion with coaches, directors of athletics and commissioners, and review and comparison of various data -- that each individual ultimately will determine their vote on all issues related to selections, seeding and bracketing.
The individual components (i.e., win-loss record, opponents‟ record, opponent opponents‟ record, where the game is played) of the RPI in and of themselves, are important in the evaluation process.
The committee will create a “seed list” (i.e. rank of the teams in “true seeds” 1 through 68) which is used to assess competitive balance of the top teams across the four regions of this national championship. Additionally, the seed list reflects the sequential order with which teams will be placed in the bracket. Once the “seed list” is finalized, it remains unchanged while the bracket is assembled.
The last four at-large teams selected to the field, as well as teams seeded 65 through 68, will be paired to compete in first-round games on Tuesday and Wednesday following the announcement of the field. The winners of the first-round games will advance to a second-round site to be determined by the committee during selection weekend. In the event a first-round site is also a second- and third-round site, the winners of first-round games may be assigned to that site, regardless of the days of competition.