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Location, location, location always goes to the highest seeds in the NCAA Tournament

Location, location, location always goes to the highest seeds in the NCAA Tournament

SI Bracketeer Andy Glockner sets the record straight on why each team goes where, and why the name of the region has nothing whatsoever to do with locations picked for the first and second rounds of the NCAA Tournament

SCOTT JACOBS

Yesterday, I asked the question: where does the NCAA Tournament committe come up with its geopraphical pairings for the first and second rounds?  Quite simply I was baffled that a team like FSU could be slotted in to the East region, yet end in Portland for the first round game, when a location like Miami was also available.  The idea was to provoke a discussion, but who needs that, when you can just get the answer straight from the source.  Yesterday, when I cited the latest tournament projections I linked back to Mr. Glockner’s latest tournament bracket.  Well, apparently he stumbled onto it later in the day, and lo and behold, sent me an email.  Here in it’s entirety is our email exchange.  I think it answers a lot of questions.

Andy Glockner: Stumbled across your entry on the lame georgraphy for the NCAAs. You missed the pivotal point, though. There are only two foursomes that end up in each subregion, and the committee will give precendence to the highest seeds. UNC and Duke are both going to end up in Greensboro, so FSU can’t end up there. Right now, Clemson and Wake are both 3-seeds, so they get regional preference and end up in Miami, so FSU can’t go there.
Likewise, Memphis gets KC, Michigan State gets Minneapolis, etc. The end result is that the leftover teams end up in the West because there are very few highly seeded teams out there. Villanova ends up in Philly because only UConn is ahead of them to end up there.  Memphis can’t play in the South regional, btw. They are the regional host.

Juiced Sports: Thanks for that explanation.  I guess I understand what you’re saying, but my qualm is that it doesn’t seem fair.  I don’t truly understand why Portland would be a location for the East.  That just baffled me. But that makes sense I suppose. I do have a question though:   What did you think of my suggestion that they group the locations like this:

SOUTH (Memphis): Greensboro, Miami
WEST (Glendale): Portland, Boise
MIDWEST (Indianapolis): Dayton, Kansas City
EAST (Boston): Philadelphia, Minneapolis

That seems to make the most sense to me, but there must be a reason that they don’t do that.  Any chance you could clarify the reasons why?

Glockner: The goal is to hook teams up for the first two rounds, and then by geography as possible for the regionals.

Portland has nothing to do with the East regional. They are two distinct events. FSU can be in the East or South, which makes the most sense for the Sweet 16, and still end up in Portland because that’s what’s left over after all the 1s, 2s and 3s get sites closer to them.

Ideally, they would work out similarly to your batching, but that would require a much more equal distribution of high seeds nationally, and that’s simply not the case. If FSU ends up as a 3-seed ahead of Clemson or Wake, they would get Miami. Or if the committee decides that Philly is five inches closer to Winston-Salem, they could put Wake there and screw Nova.

JSB: O wow, okay that’s interesting… I guess it just comes across as misleading when you’ve got teams from the East regional playing in Portland.  But I suppose since there’s a week in between regionals the whole thing becomes moot.  So pretty much the committee does a balancing act of getting the top teams the closest locations, and the others be damned. While at the same time they have to try to to logically give teams that make it to the sweet 16 the closest place to play from their campus.

So while my batching makes sense it’s more complicated because there is a different balance of power, ala: North Carolina, Duke, Pitt, UConn, Wake Forest, etc.  So in other words, if FSU beats Virginia Tech in its final game and then advances to the last round of the ACC Tournament they’ll end up in Miami?

How about Memphis? Are they next in line to get a number one seed should one of the other four falter?  Who’s the closest one seed to being on the verge of being a number two?

Glockner: What you said is more or less correct. They try to do their best with the protected (top-4) seeds, but it doesn’t always work out for everyone because of the different geographic concentrations and the set arena locations.

I think a lot of people are overlooking Duke as a potential No. 1 seed. I don’t think Memphis has the schedule strength or good wins to deserve one, but we’ll see.

Photo: AP by Michael Perez

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