clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

There are some small changes coming to the NCAA Tournament

New, 1 comment

A few changes for this year, and the stage set for next year.

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-Midwest Regional Practice Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

This might have flown under the radar because now, we are in the official deadzone of all sports. Let’s ignore the fact that baseball is still running, because baseball is always running. But right now, especially for college hoops, the news pickings are quite slim.

So that is why this warrants a post. The NCAA Tournament is getting a few tweaks for the upcoming season—nothing too huge mind you, but a few tweaks. The recommendations come from an ad-hoc committee that Mark Few was a part of.

Most importantly, the No. 1 overall seed will now be able to choose the location of its first and second round games of the Tournament.

Another important shift is on the league record. The committee has said they will place equal weight in conference tournament and regular-season results. So that means we might no longer see a Washington Huskies team win the Pac-12 but not make the Tournament.

The final bit of news is a big one, but also one that has developed for a while. Coaches and media members that take part in a mock tournament selection process have said that the committee doesn’t only rely on RPI when determining seeding/in or out. But at the end of the day, RPI is the metric that rules the roost, and like all metrics, RPI has its problem—mainly, that it is way too simplistic.

Nothing is changing there. But change might be on the horizon soon.

The most significant and comprehensive NABC recommendations on the selection, seeding and bracketing process involved revising the analytic metrics used by the committee and prioritizing certain criteria in the principles and procedures. The basketball committee supported in concept revising the current ranking system utilized in the selection and seeding process, and will work collaboratively with select members of the NABC ad hoc group to study a potentially more effective composite ranking system for possible implementation no earlier than the 2017-18 season.

This is quite important, because rankings like Ken Pomeroy’s tend to do a better job of determining how good a team is over RPI. Using the RPI also severely punishes teams (like Gonzaga) that play in smaller conferences where the lower ranked teams are commonly used as national punching bags for major conference teams throughout the year.

This last point doesn’t seem like too much of a surprise. The power of numbers and analytics in all sports has grown throughout the years, and it is time for the tournament and the committee to recognize that.