Possible Selections to the NCAA Division I Tournament

By Larry Feldman

Here is a simple analysis of which 16 teams may be selected on Sunday for the NCAA Division I tournament. Six teams will receive AQs (automatic qualifiers) from their leagues.

That leaves 10 at-large teams to be selected based on three primary criteria: (1) Ratings Percentage Index (RPI), (2) Strength of Schedule, and (3) Quality Wins. Secondary Factors when necessary to break a tie are (4) average RPI of all wins, (5) average RPI of all losses, (6) head-to-head competition, (7) results against common opponents (8) location of contests, (9) significant wins, and (10) significant losses. I'll just concentrate on the primary factors. The NCAA guidelines and links to each criterion can be found here.

Automatic Qualifiers

Below are the AQs already decided or the possibilities:

America East
    Stony Brook
    UMBC
    Albany
    Vermont

Colonial (CAA)
    Towson
    Drexel
    Delaware
    Massachusetts

ECAC
    Denver

Ivy
    Yale
    Cornell
    Princeton
    Brown

Metro Atlantic
    Siena
    Mount St. Mary's
    Marist
    Manhattan

Patriot
    Army

Two have already been selected (Denver and Army), which leaves 16 teams vying for the last four AQs. Of those 16, a loss will not eliminate them from at-large consideration, but only about a half-dozen of those remaining with a loss will have any realistic chance of getting an at-large bid. The AQ-conference playoffs are two rounds, so a team could still improve its at-large chances by winning the first round even if it loses the finals.


Apparent Locks for Selection

Virginia
Syracuse
North Carolina
Maryland
Duke

Taken together, we have six AQs and five locks, which leaves just five spots remaining for berths in the tournament.

There are 13 "bubble" teams under consideration below:

    Cornell*
    Princeton*
    Loyola
    Stony Brook*
    Hofstra
    Yale*
    Brown*
    Notre Dame
    Drexel*
    Johns Hopkins
    Georgetown
    Massachusetts*
    Villanova

    * also an AQ possibility

So let's take a look at these 13 bubble teams and how the NCAA might evaluate them. Remember that after the six AQs and five locks, we have just five remaining invitations to the tournament.


Ratings Percentage Index (RPI)

How do the 13 teams above stack up based on Ratings Percentage Index (RPI)? The RPI represents teams' wins/losses and those of their opponents and their opponents' opponents. Here's where teams currently stand:

    1. Cornell
    2. Princeton
    3. Loyola
    4. Stony Brook
    5. Georgetown
    6. Johns Hopkins
    7. Hofstra
    8. Yale
    9. Drexel
    10. Notre Dame
    11. Brown
    12. Villanova
    13. Massachusetts

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2010-05-04



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