You are here

Women's Basketball Selections 101 - Bracket


Building the Bracket

Step One

Prior to selection weekend, each committee member receives an "initial ballot" comprised of two columns listing all eligible Division I teams in alphabetical order. Each committee member will submit the ballot by a designated time on the first full day of selection meetings. The committee selects the 32 best teams to fill the at-large berths. There is no limit on the number of at-large teams the committee may select from one conference.

Step Two

The committee will create a seed list -- 1 through 64 -- which is used to assess competitive balance of the top teams across the four regions of this national championship. Additionally, the seed list reflects the sequential order with which teams will be placed in the bracket. Once the seed list is finalized, it remains unchanged while the bracket is assembled. Importantly, various bracketing principles may preclude a team from being placed in its true seed on the seed list.

Step Three

A top priority for the committee is to achieve reasonable competitive balance in each region of the bracket. Sixteen levels are established (i.e., the seeds, Nos. 1 through 16) in the bracket that cross the four regions, permitting evaluation of four teams simultaneously on the same level. Teams on each seed line (No. 1, No. 2, No. 3, etc.) should be as equal as possible.

Step Four

The committee will then go through the seed list, placing all teams by seed starting with the four No. 1 seeds, through the No. 4 seeds. After the top four seed lines have been assigned, determining the relative strengths of the regions by adding the true seed numbers in each region to determine if any severe numerical imbalance exists. Generally, no more than five points should separate the lowest and highest total. The committee will also attempt to assign each team to the most geographically compatible regional.

Step Five

These additional considerations are also made: If possible, rematches of regular-season games should be avoided in the preliminary rounds. Rematches of previous years' tournament games should be avoided as well. And after examining the previous five years' brackets, teams or conferences will not be moved out of its natural region or geographic area an inordinate number of times.


Did You Know?

Teams from the same conference should not meet until a regional final unless 9 or more teams from one conference make the tournament or such a move is required to complete and balance the bracket.

The committee will try to avoid rematches of regular season games.

Filling in the final bracket is the last step in the process, with this taking place no earlier than late Sunday evening.