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NCAA DIVISION I MEN’S BASKETBALL CHAMPIONSHIP PRINCIPLES AND PROCEDURES FOR ESTABLISHING THE BRACKET
There are three phases to establish the bracket:
I. Select the 37 best at-large teams;
II. Seed the field of 68 teams; and
III. Place the teams into the championship bracket.
General Principles for Selection, Seeding and Bracketing
The Division I Men’s Basketball Committee will abide by the following general principles:
• A committee member (“member”) shall not be present during discussions regarding the selection or seeding of a team the individual represents as an athletics director or commissioner.
• An athletics director or commissioner 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.
• 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, 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.
The Principles and Procedures are part of a comprehensive annual review of the Division I Men’s Basketball Championship conducted from the conclusion of each year’s championship. This document was revised and approved by the Division I Men’s Basketball Committee, Summer 2010, and will be in effect for the 2011 championship.
I. Principles for Selecting At-Large Teams
The committee selects the 37 best teams to fill the at-large berths. There is no limit on the number of at-large teams the committee may select from one conference.
Procedures for Selecting At-Large Teams - Initial Ballot
1. Prior to selection weekend, each committee member receives an “initial ballot” comprised of two columns listing all eligible Division I teams in alphabetical order. 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 committee member shall identify not more than 37 teams that, in that member’s opinion, should be at-large selections 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 committee member shall identify all teams that should receive consideration for at large berths. There is no minimum or maximum limit in the second column; however, only teams meriting serious
consideration should receive votes.
2. Any team receiving all but two of the eligible votes in Column 1 is moved into the tournament field as an at-large selection.
3. The committee will form an "under consideration board" consisting of an alphabetical listing of teams that:
a. Received more than one vote in either of the columns of the initial ballot but did not receive enough votes to be an at large team; or
b. Were recommended by more than one member prior to closing, or
c. 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
4. The initial "under consideration board" will then be closed.
A team may be removed from the “under consideration board” at any time if it receives all but two of the eligible votes. A team may be added to the “under consideration board” at any time provided it receives at least three eligible votes. Verbal nominations are permitted.
1. The committee then begins evaluating those teams on the “under-consideration board.”
2. Each committee member will list the best eight teams from the “under-consideration board,” in no particular order, to be added to the at-large field. When 20 or more teams are under consideration in “list X teams” ballots, each member shall list eight. When 14 to 19 teams are under consideration, each member shall list six. When 13 or fewer teams are under consideration, each member shall list four.
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 rank the eight teams, using a cross-country 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. 5 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. 4) for two consecutive ”rank” ballots, it shall be returned to the “under consideration board,” without prejudice.
10. 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.
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, the chair may suggest that the committee begin reviewing teams that should be eliminated from the “under-consideration board.” The same voting procedures will be used, beginning with Procedure No. 2.
13. 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 Procedure No. 5.
14. At any time, the chair may call for a cross country vote of the teams remaining on the “under-consideration board.”
II. Principles for Seeding of Teams
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. Importantly, various bracketing principles may preclude a team from being placed in its “true” seed on the “seed list.”
Procedures for Seeding the Teams
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. When 20 or more teams are under consideration in “list X teams” ballots, each member shall list eight. When 14 to 19 teams are under consideration, each member shall list six. When 13 or fewer teams are under consideration, each member shall list four.
2. 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.”
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 cross-country scoring system.
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 cross-country 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. 4, 5 and 6 are repeated until all the teams are seeded 1 through 68.
8. After a team has been voted into the seed list, it may be moved to a different position by a vote of all but two of the eligible voters. 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 numerical order. For example, at any time, the committee may use the procedures to determine the fourth quadrant of teams in the seed list.
III. Principles for Placing Teams into
A top priority for the committee is to achieve reasonable competitive balance in each region of 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. The second-/third round sites that feed into a regional site may be in different geographic areas from the regional.
Also, the two ‘bracket groups’ at a second-/third round site may feed into different regional sites. Each of the first three teams selected from a conference shall be placed in different regions.
There shall not be more than two teams from a conference in one region unless a ninth team is selected from a conference. No more than one team from a conference may be seeded in the same grouping of four in line Nos. 1-4 and 13-16 in a region, unless a conference has four or more teams seeded in line Nos. 1-4. In lines No. 5-12, two teams from the same conference may be placed in the same group of four.
Conference teams shall not meet prior to the regional final unless a ninth team is selected from a conference. If the committee is unable to reconcile the bracket after exhausting all reasonable options, it has the flexibility to waive this principle to permit two teams from the same conference to meet each other after the second round.
To recognize the demonstrated quality of such teams, the committee shall not place teams seeded on the first five 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 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.
A team may be moved one seed line from its true seed line (e.g., from a No. 13 seed to a No. 12 seed) 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 then place the four “number 1 seed” teams seeded 1 through 4 in each of the four regions, then determine the Final Four semifinals pairings, making best effort to pair the top No. 1 seed’s region against the fourth No. 1 seed’s region and the second No. 1 seed’s region against the third No. 1 seed’s region.
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, determine 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 with then place seeds No. 5 through 16 in the bracket, per the principles. The committee will assign four teams the seed of its bracket line number (i.e., five through sixteen) rather than using the “true” seed-list number. The four teams on each line 5 through 16, therefore, have the same numerical value.
1. If possible, rematches of regular-season games should be avoided in the second and third rounds.
2. If possible, rematches of previous years’ tournament games should be avoided in the second and third rounds.
3. If possible, after examining the previous five years’ brackets, teams or conferences will not be moved out of its natural region or geographic area an inordinate number of times.
Rating Percentage Index (RPI)
The Rating Percentage Index (RPI) was created in 1981 to provide supplemental data for the Division I Men’s Basketball Committee in its evaluation of teams for at-large selection and seeding of the championship bracket. 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. In 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
- Courtesy NCAA