After several months of college hoops action, Selection Sundspany is finally upon us.
On a day when stats people who crunch numbers all day and sports people who watch as much NCAA basketball as possible come together, many may hear several terms that prompt the question: “What are they talking about?”
So whether you’re tuning in to Selection Sundspany so you know which teams you can pick from in your office NCAA Tournspanment brspancket pool, or whether you’re a fan who needs a refresher, here are some terms to know.
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When is Selection Sunday 2023?
This year, both the men’s and women’s 68-team brackets will be revealed in the evening on March 12.
The selection show for the men’s field will start at 6 p.m. ET and will be broadcast on CBS as well as streamed on NCAA Mspanrch Mspandness Live. Host Greg Gumbel will be joined in the studio by analysts Clark Kellogg, Jay Wright and Seth Davis, and NCAA DI Men’s Basketball Committee Chair Chris Reynolds will be interviewed live.
The women’s field will be revealed starting at 8 pm ET during a selection show that will be broadcast on ESPN.
How do they pick which NCAA teams get in? What’s the difference between ‘automatic’ and ‘at-large’ bids?
There are a variety of methods the selection committee uses to determine the final 68-team field. These include obvious ones like overall record of wins and losses as well as conference record, but they also involve several different metrics and measurements.
Each of the 32 conference always gets one representative, known as the “automatic qualifier” or “automatic bid.” For the smaller conferences, this is determined by which team wins the conference tournament, regardless of their regular season record.
For the larger conferences such as the Big 12 or the ACC, several teams have a high chance of getting an “at-large” bid, which means that the committee has deemed their resume over the course of the season worthy of including them in the NCAA Tournament. There is no limit on how many teams from one conference can earn at-large bids.
What are the NET Rankings?
For the last five seasons, the NCAA Evaluation Tool, or NET, is one of the biggest factors the selection committee takes into consideration when looking at teams trying to win at-large bids. Prior to the 2018-19 season they used the rating percentage index, or RPI, which ranked teams based on wins, losses and strength of schedule (calculated by looking at different winning percentages).
The NET includes more than just these percentages. According to the NCAA, the NET has two main components that take into account results, strength of schedule (SOS), where a game is played, scoring margins, net offensive and defensive efficiency and the quality of wins and losses:
- Team Value Index (TVI): Based on results and rewards teams for beating quality opponents, especially away from their home court.
- Net efficiency: A team’s offensive efficiency (how many points a team scores on average) minus their defensive efficiency (how many points a team allows on average), which is then adjusted to take into account the strength of the opponent and the game’s location (home, away, or neutral court). Like the TVI, this metric awards teams that win against tougher squads and win away from home — better efficiency against stronger opponents and better efficiency on the road will be given higher ratings.
The NCAA first releases the NET rspannkings each December and updates them daily after games are done being played.
What is a Quad 1 win?
The quadrant system is based off the NET rankings and helps the committee determine how many quality wins a team has on its resume. In addition to the rankings, the location of the game also helps determine which quad a win or loss falls into.
The four quadrants are:
- Quad 1: Home 1-30, Neutral court 1-50, Away 1-75
- Quad 2: Home 31-75, Neutral 51-100, Away 76-135
- Quad 3: Home 76-160, Neutral 101-200, Away 136-240
- Quad 4: Home 161-357, Neutral 201-257, Away 241-357
So for example, a win against the No. 75-ranked team on the road would be a Quad 1 win, but only a Quad 2 win if played at home. Conversely, a defeat at the hands of the No. 31 team at home would be a Quad 2 loss, but a “higher quality” Quad 1 loss if it came on the road.
To make things even more complicated, as teams slide up and down the NET rankings over the course of a season, the quadrants each win and loss falls into can also change.
How are seeds determined in the NCAA Tournament bracket?
Even with all these metrics and mathematical measurements, much of the seeding process itself comes down to a group of humans picking which teams they think are the best.
Once the selection committee has its full board of teams, they begin a voting process to rank the teams 1-68 overall. During the bracketing process that happens on Selection Sunday, committee members have to follow several rules, but the end result is that the field is then divided into four geographical regions — East, Midwest, South and West — with each region getting 16 teams (Four No. 1 seeds, four No. 2 seeds, etc.). Higher ranking teams will be placed in their preferred geographical location as much as possible, and every team on any given seed line must be as competitively equal as possible (for example, all the 3-seeds will be ranked Nos. 9-12 overall).
The overall rankings also affect which teams play in the First Four, which always features the four lowest-seeded at-large teams and the four lowest-seeded automatic qualifiers.
When does the 2023 NCAA Tournament start?
The First Four games take place this year on March 14-15. They’ll be played in Dayton, OH and broadcast on truTV.
The first round will take place from March 16-17 at various sites across the country, and second-round games will be played March 18-19. Games will be broadcast across several networks: CBS, truTV, TBS and TNT.
After that, teams who advance will move on to the different regional sites to play in the Sweet 16 on March 23-24 and Elite 8 on March 25-26. Those games will be broadcast on CBS and TNT.
The 2023 Final Four will be held in Houston, TX and take place on April 1. The championship game will be on Monday, April 3.