First Four (March 17 and 18)
University of Dayton Arena in Dayton, Ohio (Host: University of Dayton)
Rounds of 64 and 32 (March 19 and 21)
Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Florida (Host: Jacksonville University)
KFC Yum! Center in Louisville, Kentucky (Host: University of Louisville)
Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (Host: Duquesne University)
Moda Center in Portland, Oregon (Host: University of Oregon)
Rounds of 64 and 32 (March 20 and 22)
Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte, North Carolina (Host: University of North Carolina at Charlotte)
Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio (Host: Ohio State University)
CenturyLink Center Omaha in Omaha, Nebraska (Host: Creighton University)
KeyArena in Seattle, Washington (Host: University of Washington)
Regional Semifinals and Finals (March 26 and 28)
Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio (Host: Mid-American Conference)
Staples Center in Los Angeles, California (Host: Pepperdine University)
Regional Semifinals and Finals (March 27 and 29)
Carrier Dome in Syracuse, New York (Host: Syracuse University)
NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas (Hosts: Rice University and University of Houston)
Final Four and the National Championship (April 4 and 6)
Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Indiana (Hosts: Butler University, IUPUI, and the Horizon League)
Appalachian State - Southern to Sun Belt
Davidson - Southern to Atlantic 10
East Carolina - CUSA to American
East Tennessee State - Atlantic Sun to Southern
Elon - Southern to Colonial
Georgia Southern - Southern to Sun Belt
Idaho - WAC to Big Sky
Louisville - American to ACC
Maryland - ACC to Big Ten
Mercer - Atlantic Sun to Southern
Oral Roberts - Southland to Summit
Rutgers - American to Big Ten
Tulane - CUSA to American
Tulsa - CUSA to American
VMI - Big South to Southern
Western Kentucky - Sun Belt to CUSA
Alabama State, Appalachian State, Florida A&M, Houston Baptist, Lamar, San Jose State, Southern, Central Arkansas, and Wisconsin-Milwaukee due to APR issues
Abilene Christian, Grand Canyon, Incarnate Word, Massachusetts-Lowell, Omaha, and Northern Kentucky due to D-1 Transition
So here are some things to keep in mind when the NCAA basketball committee starts placing teams in the bracket (I wrote these as they came to me so it's not in any order of importance):
- The top 4 teams on the NCAA seed list of 68 are the number one seeds and placed in the region closest to them. If two or more teams claim a particular region to be closest, the team ranked higher on the seed list gets to stay. In the Final Four, the "#1" region will be paired with the "#4" region while #2 is paired with #3.
- Teams 5-16 on the seed list are then assigned to the closest region available in "true seed" order. At this point, you can calculate each region's relative strength by adding up the true seeds of the top 4 teams in each region. Generally, the difference between the highest ranked region and lowest should be 5 or less but in 2012, the difference was 8, which tells us geography is playing a much larger role in the bracketing process.
- At this point, teams 1-16 on the seed list are assigned in "true seed" order to the closest pod (round of 64/32) site as possible. After that, everybody else is placed in the bracket.
- Teams in the top 4 seed lines cannot be placed into a home crowd disadvantage in the round of 64 (it used to be the top 5 seed lines, but the NCAA changed it).
- Host schools can't be placed in the sites where they're hosting. So this season, Jacksonville, Louisville, Duquesne, Oregon, Charlotte, Ohio State, Creighton, Washington, Pepperdine, Syracuse, Rice, and Houston won't be placed at their home sites if they make the tourney. The exception is Dayton if they participate in the First Four. Schools in a pod or regional that's hosted by its own conference can be placed there.
- Schools who played more than 3 times in a host facility (excluding postseason conference tournaments) also can't play there in the tournament.
- BYU doesn't play on Sunday so if they make the tournament, they will not be placed in Charlotte, Columbus, Omaha, Seattle, Syracuse, or Houston.
- First Four winners playing on Tuesday will funnel into a Thursday pod. If they play on Wednesday, the winners will go to a Friday pod. The committee will try to place these teams in a pod as close to Dayton as possible to minimize travel.
- If possible, the committee will look back at the last two tournaments and make sure schools haven't been placed out of their geographic area an "inordinate number of times." What's an inordinate number of times? I don't know. Can't be more than 4.
- The top 4 teams from each conference in the top 4 seed lines can't be placed in the same region.
- No rematches between two conference teams until:
- the round of 32 if the two conference teams met once in the regular season.
- the round of 16 if the two conference teams met twice in the regular season.
- the round of 8 if the two conference teams met three or more times in the regular season.
- If possible, regular season rematches should be avoided in the First Four and the round of 64. In addition, rematches from the previous two tournaments should be avoided in the round of 64.
Everybody got that?
For more on how the NCAA committee builds the bracket, read the principles and procedures.