In my post this morning I actually completed the first part of creating a bracket: you have to find out who the teams are and assign them seeds. But once that is done, what do they do?
Let’s assume the season ended last night and use the top-ranked team from all of the AQ conferences to put together the draw. So, the selection of the teams is done. See my earlier post of the magic number.
Next you need to try and figure out how far away the schools are from each other. The NCAA tries to optimize the number of schools that drive vs. fly. For example, here’s a chart showing the distance between all of the first and second seeds. This is because the NCAA attempts to place as many schools within the 400-mile range so they can bus to the site. This data comes from the website the NCAA uses to determine this.
As you can see, the #1 seeds are along the left hand side of the chart and the #2 seeds are across the top. I have highlighted some of the cells GREEN to signify if they are within the 400 miles and some RED to signify they are in the same conference and cannot travel to the same pod.
I mentioned on Twitter this afternoon that TCU needs to win a few matches now that it appears that Texas, Texas A&M and Baylor have moved very high into the rankings and are very likely to host. If they do not reach the top-16, they would likely have to travel to College Station.
The difference between 1’s and 2’s and 1’s and 4’s is tremendous. All of the #4 seeds are going to be automatic qualifiers, so they will not have any conference restrictions, since they are the only teams from their conference.
If you look closely at schools like Butler, Valpo and Buffalo, they are only within driving distance to Ohio State and Michigan. This would likely mean that 2 of the 3 would go to those places and they other would get shipped someplace further west.
Placing the #3 seeds can be tough. The problem is you have to not only layer them against the #1’s, but also against the #2’s. Fortunately, there are only about half that issue this problem since the rest are AQ’s.
Here’s a look at today’s 1 v 3’s.
You really now have most of the data required. So this is how you get started. Now you have to start putting together pods.
Next Time: Let’s put together pods!