The Daily Bracket uses a mathematical formula to rank every Division I college basketball team.  The formula is derived from the criteria used by the NCAA selection committee, as well as analysis that historically shows which statistical factors most impact the selection process.  These criteria include Strength of Schedule (SOS), Winning Percentage, AP and ESPN Polls, wins against top 25 RPI teams, record against top 50 and top 100 RPI teams, losses against teams outside the top 100 of the RPI, Conference record, and Road-Neutral court record.  From there, seeding is done on a manual basis, conforming to NCAA bracketing rules.

The automatic qualifiers from each conference are determined by the S-Curve rankings, with the exception of the Ivy League.  The Ivy League team with the fewest conference losses is the automatic qualifier in the bracket, with the tiebreaker being the S-Curve rankings.

A mathematical formula such as this can only accurately predict the tournament teams to the extent that the selection committee is consistent in its use of criteria to select the teams.  However, for the last one or two teams selected for the field, the committee has not been consistent, using different criteria year-to-year in a process of elimination to select the last teams into the field.  Therefore, for those last selections, I will try to use a process of elimination and give my reasoning for the final teams selected in my Final Bracket. 

The updated AP and ESPN polls released on Monday are used in the rankings beginning on Tuesday.  For the rest of the week, a subjective system is used to try and estimate changes in the polls based on the week’s games.  This will sometimes lead to changes in top of the bracket between Monday’s and Tuesday’s brackets, even though not many games are played on Monday night.

  1. #1 by Eric Prisbell on March 2, 2011 - 2:37 PM

    Hi, this is Eric Prisbell of The Washington Post. I am working on a fun, light story on the confusion surrounding office pools this season because of the added play-in games. Do you count them or not? Does it turn off the casual fan? I was wondering if you had any thoughts on the issue, the move to 68 teams, or the effect on the casual fan who usually fills out the bracket for fun. You study the bracket in depth; any feedback would be appreciated. Feel free to share your thoughts in an email. The story should run Sunday. Thanks a lot,


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