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Selection, location, S-curves…..good lord

Soon the NCAA committee will begin its selection process for the March tournament. Charlie Creme, writing for ESPN, was one media member invited to partake in a mock selection process recently.

Perhaps most controversial for fans is where certain teams play their games. For instance, why would a Florida team not play in the Tampa Bay regional and be sent to Oklahoma City instead? Creme provides a good explanation:

Location, location, location

This was probably the greatest area of clarification for someone who has put together his fair share of brackets, the subject from which most of my questions on Selection Monday are derived.

Once the S-curve is established, teams are placed in the bracket, starting at the top. But are teams placed according to S-curve ranking (i.e., the No. 1 overall in the same regional as the No. 8 overall, No. 2 with No. 7, and so on) or are they placed based on their geographical proximity to that particular regional? Because the committee doesn’t release its S-curve, that was sometimes difficult to tell. Well, now we have the answer: geography.

The teams are taken in order of their S-curve standing and are then placed in the nearest regional. For instance, say Louisville is No. 5 on the S-curve. With all four regionals still open for 2-seeds, the Cardinals would go to Raleigh, N.C., because it’s closest. It would not necessarily matter whether that’s where the No. 4 overall team was also placed.

The only exception to this in 2009 is that California, regardless of where the Bears come up on the S-curve, can’t be placed in the Berkeley Regional because they have played more than three games at Haas Pavilion this season. That’s a situation unique to this season, however. Otherwise, the geography-first principle stays in place.


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