Where was your team actually ranked by the committee? It’s an interesting question, and one that many people have every year. We see the seeds, but how does one No. 5 seed rank against another?
The NCAA releases its true seed list every year near the end of the selection show, and here it is.
NCAA just put out the 1-68 seed list. Here it is: pic.twitter.com/PKT1jhIWNL— Luke Winn (@lukewinn) March 12, 2017
Tournament seeding attempts to work on an S-curve where teams ranked Nos. 1-4 get No. 1 seeds, and 5-8 get No. 2 seeds and so on. It breaks down roughly like this:
The selection committee creates a ranking of teams from 1-6.
It attempts to create brackets by snaking down the S-curve and putting the best of one seed line with the worst of the next and so on.
The S-curve is really a table with four columns (each an "ideal bracket") and 16 rows (or the seed lines), and is read left to right, then right to left, then left to right, and so on.
The attempt here is to have the best No. 1 seed getting the worst No. 2 seed in the field in its region and so on all the way down the line. You can see how sometimes it doesn’t work that way as Villanova has Duke, not Louisville, as its No. 2 seed.
Despite nearly finishing the season undefeated, Gonzaga ends up being the weakest of the No. 1 seeds with a No. 4 true seed.
Wichita State stands out as a team the committee and the advanced metrics differ most on. The Shockers have a true seed of No. 38, but in Ken Pomeroy’s pace-adjusted numbers they rank No. 8.
A No. 16 seed has never beaten a No. 1 seed, but lowly Mount St. Mary’s sits at 68th on the true seed list, and will have a play-in game to win before it can take a crack at college basketball history.