How do you build a bracket? Building the pods – placing the 4’s

So we have figured out who is in. We have seeded the teams. We know how far away they are from each other.

What do we do next?

PODCASTING!

No, not really podcasting, but that’s kind of a cool name for building pods. Too bad it’s already used for something else.

OK, so to build pods, I am going to stick to a couple of rules. A few of these may not be hard and fast NCAA rules, but I think they will serve us well.

Rule 1 – Maximize the number of drives overall (vs. flights aka >400 miles). I tried to optimize this by seeding group, but that doesn’t seem to matter to the NCAA. I would try to optimize 2’s first then 3’s then 4’s. The NCAA would have a different number by seed, but overall we had the same number of drives.

Rule 2 – No schools from the same conference within the same pod. This one sends a bunch of ACC schools to SEC schools and visa versa (especially this year it seems). The more northern of these tend to get shipped to Big Ten schools. This rule is not significant when picking the four seeds, since they are all AQs and do not have any conflicts with the rest of the draw.

Rules 3 – Don’t send schools to the same place they’ve been in the past two years. Not really a rule, but more of a guideline. Definitely avoid the past year. That’s just not very fun or fair for anyone involved. This is usually a problem for the Texas schools and Florida schools, as there are limited driving opportunities.

Using these rules, I tried to put together the start of some pods.

Unfortunately, there are three schools (that can only drive to Michigan and Ohio State: Butler, Valparaiso and Buffalo. This means that one has to fly, no matter what. Buffalo was at Ohio State a year ago, so this year they go to Michigan. Butler has a major airport, so they fly and Valpo heads to Ohio State.

The only school that can drive to Texas A&M is Lamar. They could go to Baylor, but played them already, so I am sending them to College Station.

From there I went to Wake and gave them the lowest-ranked team, Mercer. Then Virginia gets the lowest remaining that can drive, St. Francis.

Denver can go anywhere. They’ve recently been to Cal and UNC. I assume they send them somewhere with a direct flight, and in other sports the NCAA has a sense of humor, so I am sending the Pioneers to Austin. Ricky would love it and the fans would love to see him.

I’m placing Florida A&M in Gainseville since Mercer is already gone. The only place left for Tennessee Tech would be Georgia Tech.

Just to do it, I am sending UNC Wilmington to the mothership, UNC. That leaves Campbell heading to Georgia.

Butler gets a trip to LA to play USC and I am sending Idaho to Cal this time around.

NM State has been to Oklahoma recently, so I am keeping them out west and sending them to UCLA this time. Jackson State to Oklahoma State.

That leaves Marist with a trip from Poughkeepsie to Norman.

picking the fours

Wake Forest – Mercer
Ohio State – Valparaiso
Virginia – St. Francis
Texas – Denver
Oklahoma State – Jackson State
North Carolina – UNC Wilmington
Southern California – Butler
Baylor – Colgate
UCLA – NM State
Oklahoma
Texas A&M – Lamar
California – Idaho
Florida – Florida A&M
Georgia – Campbell
Michigan – Buffalo
Georgia Tech – Tennessee Tech

So there’s half of my draw.

Next time: I select the 2’s or 3’s…

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