The Arizona Wildcats could face a Pac-12 team as early as their second game of the NCAA tournament, under new bracketing procedures announced today.
The Division I men’s basketball committee adopted bracketing guideline changes in an attempt to give teams their actual deserved seed more often instead of shifting seeds to avoid rematches from the regular season.
“We believe these changes speak to that issue,” said Wake Forest AD Ron Wellman, chair of the basketball committee. “Now we will not have to move teams from one seed line to another."
Previous procedures limited conference teams and teams who met during the regular season in nonconference play from meeting before the Elite Eight, creating restrictions that the basketball committee sometimes accommodated by shifting a team’s seed.
In most cases, teams were shifted one “seed line” to avoid potential rematches – but NCAA spokesman David Worlock said that Marquette was shifted from a 6 seed to an 8 in 2007.
Here’s the major changes adopted:
-- Conference teams who play only once during the season can play as early as the third round (which is the second game for teams not involved in the “First Four” games).
-- Conference teams who played twice during the season can’t play until Sweet 16.
-- Conference teams who played three times can’t play until the Elite Eight.
--Matchups in conference tournaments count as regular-season meetings, Wellman said, so a late conference tournament game would bump teams from one category into the next.
-- A conference’s top four teams will be placed in separate regions only if they are assigned a 1-4 seed. (Previously the top three teams in a league were placed in separate regions regardless of their seed).
-- The committee will attempt to avoid rematches with teams who met in nonconference play only through the second round (first game for most teams).
-- If a conference has two or more teams among the last four to be selected, and thus in the First Four, all principles can be relaxed.