Filling out a bracket once the selection committee has decided who goes where is fun. But you can take it one step further. Find out just how much you really know and see if you can actually come up with all 65 teams and their correct seed.
The most important thing to remember when brainstorming your own field is you must know how many spots are available to determine if a bubble team is actually in. I'll get to a more detailed explanation on that in a bit. The following are the steps you take to determine how many available spots there are.
The first thing you need to do is get a list of the conference tournament
winners. There are 31 automatic bids handed out via conference tournament
winners. Some of those conferences are one-bid conferences. So with conferences
like the Southland, Atlantic Sun, America East, etc…your work is minimized. At
the least, you know that 31 of the 65 come via the tourney title. For
conferences like the Big East, Big 12, etc…things get a little trickier since
you will be dealing with multiple teams from each. The
Determine the NCAA locks. In other words these are teams that are
iron-pipe locks, no ifs, ands, or buts about it—they're in! These are teams who
failed to win their conference tournament but the only thing on their mind is
seeding. They won't be sweating it out on selection Sunday. Those are teams like
So let's just take the two numbers you've come up with, and I'm totally
making these numbers up but, let's say you have 31 automatics, and 22 locks.
That means 53 of the 65 have already been decided, see that wasn't too hard. Now
you know there are only 12 spots available. That's important – circle that
number, and the second a team gets upset in a conference tournament, that number
is reduced by one. In other words, if
This is where things get tricky. Now you have to figure out how many teams are vying for those 12 spots. Again, I'll use a mythical number here and some mythical teams. So you refer to collegerpi.com and you figure out there are 20 teams who COULD compete for those 12 spots. Let's just say they are:
(41)Cincinnati, (42) St. Joseph's, (43) Texas A&M, (45)
Now, using the Gory Details, you're going to compare these teams.
Let's compare Texas A&M and
Texas A&M has an
If it came down to those two teams, who would you take? The Aggies out of
conference schedule is much-maligned, but they did finish 10-6 in a major
Those are some of the questions and decisions you'll be faced with.
Phew…glad that's over, but wait….
Once you've chosen your field, now it's time to seed. If you thought the other four steps were hard, this is downright brutal. Usually the one seeds are easy, but after that if you get a team within 1 of its actual seed, in either direction, you've done good. In other words if you say
I've done it for the last three years and it's tough but it's a fun way to test your knowledge of the numbers. Last year was the first year we got all 65 teams in the field.
Yes, I know, it might be more work than you're willing to go through so this drill is designed for the true hoops junkie. Enjoy and good luck.