NCAA Tournament Selection Probabilities for Division I - 5/05

By Larry Feldman and Bill Allen

The NCAA Selection Committee now invites 26 teams to the Division I tournament. Thirteen berths are for automatic qualifiers (AQs), which are the champions of their conferences. The remaining 13 are at-large selections from teams not selected as AQs.

Below is a list of teams eligible for AQs followed by a list of teams we believe to have the highest probability of getting selected on an at-large basis.

Here are the 13 automatic qualifiers.

America East: Stony Brook
American Lacrosse Conference: Northwestern
Atlantic 10: Massachusetts
Atlantic Coast: Maryland
Atlantic Sun: Jacksonville
Big East: Syracuse
Big South: High Point
Colonial: Towson
Ivy League: Penn
Metro Atlantic: Canisius
Northeast: Monmouth
Patriot League: Navy
MPSF: Stanford

Next, let's examine the remaining teams for the 13 at-large spots. This may include teams that are still in contention for automatic qualification.

Probabilities of an at-large invitation are based on a team's RPI (ratings percentage index) and SOS (strength of schedule) ranking. Summing the two rankings yields a number that, over the past 10 years, predicts reasonably well whether a team will receive an invitation or be passed up.

Quality wins are not explicitly included in the primary or secondary selection criteria, but they still may play a role in the selection process, and that is why we consider them here. They basically answer the question, who did that team beat? The ranking is based on a scoring system such that if a team beats a top 5, top 10, top 20, or >top 20 team, it earns so many points. And if you lose to the same team, it loses points. The RPI ranking is used to determine whether a team is a top 5 etc., and the higher ranked the team, the greater the points earned (and vice versa for a loss).

Apparent Locks (7)

Wins-Losses            17-2
RPI Rank 5
SOS Rank 6
Quality Wins Rank 3
At-Large Probability 100.00

North Carolina
Wins-Losses            14-3
RPI Rank 3
SOS Rank 2
Quality Wins Rank 4
At-Large Probability 100.00

Wins-Losses            13-5
RPI Rank 6
SOS Rank 9
Quality Wins Rank 9
At-Large Probability 100.00

Wins-Losses             9-9
RPI Rank 16
SOS Rank 4
Quality Wins Rank 20
At-Large Probability 100.00

Boston College
Wins-Losses            12-7
RPI Rank 9
SOS Rank 7
Quality Wins Rank 16
At-Large Probability 100.00

Penn State
Wins-Losses            12-6
RPI Rank 11
SOS Rank 10
Quality Wins Rank 15
At-Large Probability 100.00

Wins-Losses            12-5
RPI Rank 10
SOS Rank 18
Quality Wins Rank 12
At-Large Probability 68.94

Probable Selections (2)

Wins-Losses            10-8
RPI Rank 19
SOS Rank 14
Quality Wins Rank 26
At-Large Probability 50.69

Notre Dame
Wins-Losses            12-4
RPI Rank 15
SOS Rank 16
Quality Wins Rank 13
At-Large Probability 56.14

On the Bubble (4 spots open)

Wins-Losses            10-7
RPI Rank 24
SOS Rank 21
Quality Wins Rank 22
At-Large Probability 9.89

Wins-Losses            10-6
RPI Rank 21
SOS Rank 27
Quality Wins Rank 27
At-Large Probability 6.89

Wins-Losses            10-6
RPI Rank 23
SOS Rank 24
Quality Wins Rank 23
At-Large Probability 6.71

Johns Hopkins
Wins-Losses            10-7
RPI Rank 28
SOS Rank 33
Quality Wins Rank 25
At-Large Probability 5.96

Wins-Losses            17-2
RPI Rank 13
SOS Rank 55
Quality Wins Rank 8
At-Large Probability 3.19

Wins-Losses            11-6
RPI Rank 30
SOS Rank 20
Quality Wins Rank 24
At-Large Probability 5.51

Wins-Losses            13-4
RPI Rank 17
SOS Rank 31
Quality Wins Rank 11
At-Large Probability 6.89

James Madison
Wins-Losses            11-6
RPI Rank 20
SOS Rank 36
Quality Wins Rank 28
At-Large Probability 4.28

Wins-Losses            12-5
RPI Rank 31
SOS Rank 42
Quality Wins Rank 17
At-Large Probability 1.73


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