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Did You Know? 10 Little-Known Selection Sunday Secrets

Did You Know? 10 Little-Known Selection Sunday Secrets

We’re just about ten days away from Selection Sunday; a day when it seems the whole world holds their breath in anticipation of the NCAA’s tournament selection committee announcement of the 68 teams that will compete in college basketball’s greatest tournament known as March Madness.

And, since everyone goes gaga when picking out their brackets, here’s what you should know about how the selection committee figures things out.

Revealed: 10 Selection Sunday Secrets  

  1. How Does The Selection Really Work?

You may not realize how much work goes into selecting all 68 March Madness teams. The fact of the matter is the committee needs to rank the field 1 through 68, which includes 32 automatic bids for the conference champions and 36 at-large teams.

They’ll spend most of their time trying to figure out what the best order is from top to bottom by “scrubbing” the list and going through mountains of information the size of Mount Everest.

Then they’ll arrange teams into each region, giving preference to location and not competitive balance, which brings up the next question…

  1. Are teams kept home to ramp up ticket sales?

Are seeds all about the money? Nope.

Teams aren’t moved up or down a seed line to get teams to play closer to home and sell more tickets.

At least, not entirely; while it’s true the committee tries to keep teams as close to home as possible to avoid teams having to travel all across the country for first and second round games, how they’re seeded comes down to something else entirely.

Besides, ticket sales actually make up a small portion of the overall March Madness revenue. And, that’s not even considering that over three-quarters of the game tickets are probably sold already. With all the work that goes in the selection process, it’s practically impossible to change seeds on a whim.

  1. Is the No. 1 seed that important?

Perhaps, but probably not for the reasons you might be thinking of. While getting a No. 1 seed does get you a slightly easier first-round game and a potential a geographic advantage, there’s not much more to the No. 1 seed than the bragging rights of being the top team going into the competition.

All bets are off once the action starts. Even if No. 1 teams tend to win out, making your picks solely on the basis of a team’s seed can backfire on you.

Don’t wind up with egg on your face by filling out your bracket with all the top seeds. Do some research to make an informed decision.

  1. How does the committee come up with all those chin-scratching matchups?

If you love conspiracy theories, then you might believe committee members sit around making up some baffling matchups. But, in reality, they don’t even get to see the matchups until the bracket is done, there’s no time for that.

There are only five full days and nights of voting and discussion; considering that most of that time is spent sorting out the seeds, it’s practically impossible to determine which team will play what team in what round.

  1. Is RPI is the most important criteria to decide who gets in and a team’s seed?

As mentioned above, committee members go through mountains of information to dig deep into analyzing teams. RPI is just one of several components, but it’s not the holy grail of criteria.

This isn’t to say that RPI isn’t important, it probably is, but there are dozens of other factors playing into selections such as the number of wins against top teams, or whether those wins came away from home, for example.

  1. So, are the number of top 50 wins and non-conference strength of schedule top factors considered for selection?

Yes, most likely. Sounds unfair, doesn’t it? Because you might be thinking this leaves out mid-major schools that can’t schedule up.

But, there’s nothing the committee can do about that. They’re basing their selections on what’s happened during the season and not on how they wish things would have played out.

There might be an argument for a team that ranked well in KenPom’s efficiency rankings and also had a winning record, but if they don’t have many wins over top-ranked teams there’s no way to justify giving them an at-large bid.

  1. Does membership and conference affiliation matter in team selections?

A conference’s RPI and affiliation are not part of the decision-making process. Teams are selected based on merit and they’re considered independent when the committee looks at the nitty-gritty of things they may not even be looking at a conference’s RPI for each team.

  1. Does the “eye test” matter? Does it, really?

Again, committee members have thousands of information points, including results, box scores, summaries, conference notes, rankings, head-to-head results, coach and player information, polls, and on and on…

Although these folks probably watch more college basketball than practically anyone on the planet, they’re also on top of every other bit of information that’s available, so the “eye test” doesn’t really play much into things.

  1. Is what happened in the past two weeks prior to Selection Sunday more important than anything else?

The bottom line is the results teams get in November is just as important as what they do on March 1. Committee members might take a look at whether a key player is missing and what that means to the game’s outcome, but there’s a lot more than meets the eye such as whether the game was on the road or on a neutral court. Non-conference games are important, too, and those games are almost always played in November and December

  1. Shouldn’t it be that the NCAA recognize regular season conference champions as automatic qualifiers instead of the tournament champs?

When it comes to designating who gets into the tournament as an automatic qualifier, it’s really up to the leagues themselves. And, there’s a reason for that: money (and exposure).

There’s no money in promoting exhibition tournaments that don’t decide anything. Money talks and conference tournaments are great at rolling in the greenbacks because there’s much more drama in them.

And, when it comes down to it drama is what drives this thing, there’s a reason it’s called March Madness. 

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