The NCAA Tournament selection committee is changing how it views a “quality win.”
After the members convened in Chicago from July 11-13, the committee voted to change its selection and seeding guidelines to balance the outcomes of games played away from home — road and neutral — on the committee’s team sheets.
The building blocks of the bracket come from the data included in these sheets.
“Effective with the 2017-18 season, team sheets will place greater emphasis on where the games are played rather than the ranking of each opponent,” the NCAA said.
A push in this direction was thanks in part to a meeting held between analytical experts and NCAA members in January.
In the past, team sheets have been divided into columns that show: results against the top 50 RPI teams, teams ranked 51-100, 101-200 and teams ranked below 200.
This season, different categories will be used (any rankings are reflecting RPI numbers):
- Column 1: Home games against teams ranked 1-30, neutral games vs. top-50 teams, road games against top-75 teams
- Column 2: Home games against teams ranked 31-75, neutral games vs. 51-100, road games vs. 76-135
- Column 3: Home games against teams ranked 76-160, neutral games vs. 101-200, road games vs. 136-240
- Column 4: Home games against teams ranked 161-351, neutral games vs. 201-351, road games vs. 241-351
“We consulted with experts within the coaching and analytics fields who looked at historical data, based on winning percentages by game location, to come up with these dividing lines within each of the columns,” said committee chairman and Michigan State athletic director Mark Hollis in a statement.
“The emphasis of performing well on the road is important, as was the need for teams not to be penalized as much for road losses. Beating elite competition, regardless of the game location, will still be rewarded, but the committee wanted the team sheets to reflect that a road game against a team ranked 60th is mathematically more difficult and of higher quality than a home game versus a team ranked 35th. We feel this change accomplishes that.”