Well, you may not have noticed but the NCAA tournament selection committee made a pretty significant change this year in how they will evaluate teams and their resumes. They are calling this new method the quadrant system and the idea is to reward teams more for away wins than the previous model. “The committee’s decision to focus on, for example, Q1 or Q2 wins, or Quadrant 4 losses, is a direct result of its desire to place greater emphasis on winning away from home and to demonstrate how difficult it is to earn those wins,” said Dan Gavitt, the NCAA’s senior vice president of basketball.
This should help the mid-major teams as they are very often forced to play bigger schools away from home or at early season tournaments on a neutral court and not surprisingly is being applauded by many coaches at smaller schools. “I love this new system,’’ said Boise State coach Leon Rice. “This is going to change things”. Nevada head coach Eric Musselman was also complimentary in saying “A lot of mid-majors do not have the liberty of scheduling a non-conference slate of guarantee games. Therefore we have to play road games and we believe that with the new way the committee will look at a team’s resume that it helps even the playing field.’’
Let’s compare the model used last with this year. The RPI formula will still be used for ranking purposes.
Tier 1: 1-50
Tier 2: 51-100
Tier 3: 101-200
Tier 4: 201+
Quadrant 1: Home 1-30; Neutral 1-50; Away 1-75
Quadrant 2: Home 31-75; Neutral 51-100; Away 76-135
Quadrant 3: Home 76-160; Neutral 101-200; Away 136-240
Quadrant 4: Home 161-plus; Neutral 201-plus; Away 241-plus.
The case of Monmouth in 2016 is the best example in recent years of how the new system should benefit the mid-major schools. Monmouth finished their MAAC schedule with an 18-2 record but lost to Siena in the conference tournament and was not invited to the Big Dance that year. Monmouth had a very good team in 2016 with a neutral court win over USC (RPI:51) and road wins over UCLA, Siena, and Georgetown with RPI ranks of 102, 104, and 106. In 2016, the USC win was in tier 2 and other 3 wins were in tier 3. Under the new system, all 4 wins are quadrant 2.