Discussion Forum

NCAA Selection criteria, seeding and 'pods'

This kind of information is seeping into other threads, thought we could clean up a bit by separating it out a bit.


In addition to the NET ranking:

  • An extensive season-long evaluation of teams through watching games, conference monitoring calls and regional advisory committee rankings.
  • Complete box scores and results.
  • Head-to-head results and results versus common opponents.
  • Imbalanced conference schedules and results.
  • Overall and nonconference strength of schedule.
  • The quality of wins and losses.
  • Road record.
  • Player and coach availability.
  • Various computer metrics.

Process and seeding criteria:

Read the whole thing, it’s actually interesting. But here’s stuff I thought noteworthy:


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.


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 first-/second-round site. There will be two ”pods‟ at each first-/second-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 second round if they played no more than once during the regular season and conference tournament.

Any principle can be relaxed if two or more teams from the same conference are among the last four at-large seeded teams participating in the First Four.

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 first round.

Procedures for Placing the Teams into the Bracket

  1. The committee will place the four No. 1 seeds in each of the four regions, thus determining the Final Four semifinals pairings (overall 1 vs. 4; 2 vs. 3). The overall No. 1 seed has the opportunity to select its preferred first- and second-round site and preferred region.

  2. The committee will then place the No. 2 seeds in each region in true seed list order. The committee may relax the principle of keeping teams as close to their area of natural interest for seeding teams on the No. 2 line to avoid, for example, the overall No. 5 seed being sent to the same region as the overall No. 1 seed. The committee will not compromise the principle of keeping teams from the same conference in separate regions.

  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 first-/second-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.

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I’m going to clean up some other threads by moving posts here, which will have the effect of making it seem like no one has read the instructions above.

On the one hand, that’s unfair. On the other, what’s the chance most of us would have read the instructions above anyway?

— The Staff

Edit add:

I’ll do this when the power goes back on, which can be days from now up in these parts. Too hard to do heavy lifting in mobile.


Have you convinced your boyfriend to approve monies to attend the BTT yet in Indy? Should be a great time! I’m going.

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Would love to go but we just can’t. Not if we are going to fly to go to the first two rounds for PSU. If we have to fly to Sacramento or Spokane the flights would be expensive. We want to get to the first two rounds. Then if we somehow get MSG or Indianapolis for the SW16 then we’d be able to do it.

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That area is really remote. I once researched the cost of flights for a business trip to elsewhere in Eastern Washington, and I was amazed over how pricey it is to fly there.

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My dad went to law school at Gonzaga back in the 70s and they have always wanted to go back there. Maybe I could convince them to go with me if we play there?? :wink:


Everyone please power rank their first round sites by preference. My power rankings:

  1. Albany (Proximity to our fans)
  2. Cleveland (same)
  3. Greensboro (driveable)
  4. Tampa (climate)
  5. St. Louis (major airport)
  6. Omaha
  7. Sacramento
  8. Spokane

6-8 would be a total disaster IMHO

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Tell that local congressman you deserve a raise! You have a lavish lifestyle to fund!

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Add to Albany that the second weekend is at Madison Square Garden- that and The Palestra are our homes away from home. If the team continues to play on the level it has and has all cylinders pumping at the tournament, what a better draw could you have location wise at least, to get to the Final 4? Shooting for the 3 seed in Albany!!

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What? As far as I can tell Albany is not linked to MSG at all…

Only if we are in the east region when playing at Albany. MSG is where the second weekend of the east region will play.


That 3-seed in Albany is the ultimate spot for us, but would be incredibly frustrating for me. I grew up near there, have been to the tourney there, and my best friend already has tickets; on the downside, I’m going to be in Ireland with my family 3/4 - 3/14. There’s no chance I’m going to be able to miss another two days of work to pop up there the following week. Who the hell would have guessed that this trip to Ireland would be occurring at the worst possible time from a basketball standpoint?

Sir, it sounds as if you aren’t climbing. I kindly request that you change that!

They don’t do it that way anymore - (note: hold on, going to modify my response a bit to details how it works).

First, the overall #1 seed gets to choose where they want to go for both weekends. So if we wind up #1 we could make Albany then MSG happen (then again, we might choose Cleveland then MSG). :wink:

Secondly, it’s way too complex to try to explain in detail here. Let’s just leave it at each first weekend site has two pods of four teams assigned to it. Those pods can feed into different regions.

There are some principles that the committee tries to follow when they are placing teams in regions and which will give the committee severe headaches because of the number of B10 teams that are likely to get a bid. For example.

The first four teams selected from a conference get assigned to different regions.

Teams that have played three times get split so that they can’t meet before the regional final.

Teams that have played each other twice shouldn’t meet before the regional semifinal.

That means that teams that have played each other only once can meet in the second round.

Note: The above principles get tossed if teams from a conference play their way in from the First Four Weekend in Dayton.

But if the Big Ten gets more than 8 teams in, then that’s going to be a challenge. Some Big Ten teams will wind up potentially matching up in the second round. As noted above, those potential second round match ups are supposed to be teams that only met once during the season. So, in our case, that would mean we could see a potential second round match up with Maryland, Illinois, or Michigan (one or more of those could get stricken depending on how the Big Ten Tournament plays out).

Somewhere on this site (and I can’t find it now) a member had the entire Albany bracket posted and the #3 and #6 seeds (who would play in the second round if they both won their first games), were I the East Region. If that’s true, win that game and you’re off to MSG in the Sweet 16.

The thread was talking about actual team draws which is way too early. But the 3 and 6 seeds of the East Region being in Albany caught my interest.

The sites for the 1st and 2nd round are divided up according to the geographical preference for each top-4 seed. For example, the overall #1 seed Baylor would go to Omaha, as would the #2 overall seed Kansas. Then the #3 overall seed Gonzaga would go to Spokane, and you work your way through the top 16…

They would put us to the closest available region assuming that the site is still available (remember 2 top-4 seeds go to a site). The closest locations for us would be Cleveland and Albany, and we have a higher probability of being there as our seed line goes up. In fact, they typically will prioritize the regional location for the top-2 seeds if they can…

Where the top-4 seed goes has no impact on where the regional for that team must go… it’s entirely possible to go to MSG after running through Albany.

I am 95% sure this is how the process works but feel free to correct me.

Thanks, so based on that, there is no pre-ordained linkage from first round sites to second round sites? Those linkages are based on the highest seeded teams that get the benefit of staying closer to home? Do I have that right?

That is correct. We would have to get lucky sort of to play in MSG, but it’s theoretically possible.

Or, we just win out and take a 1 seed for ourselves and get MSG. :grin:


Based on a review ofLunardi’s bracket, that is not correct. The two Sacramento pods, one Albany pod and one Greensboro pod are going to MSG.

I believe your explanation on how top seeds are initially placed in round 1/2 pods is essentially correct though. In order, I think our best seeding options are East 3 (Albany), East 2 (Greensboro), East 4 (Sacramento), East 6 (Albany) and East 5 (Sacramento). If we don’t earn a spot in the East, it’s root for the highest seed we can get IMO.

This is because San Diego State is dealt with the East as they are #4 overall. It is the only regional site remaining and Gonzaga takes the West regional site for being a higher overall seed.

The committee tries to place the 1s closest to their regional site in addition to 1st and 2nd rounds, but it’s entirely dependent on whether they are #1 overall, #2, #3 or #4