Fans watching the NCAA Tournament selection show are going to hear about something new this year: quadrants. Yes, “quadrants” is a new vocabulary word every bracketologist is familiar with for the 2018 NCAA Tournament. The NCAA announced the addition of the quadrant system to its selection process ahead of the season. Here’s how the system works and why the NCAA implemented it:
What is the ‘quadrant’ system for NCAA Tournament?
The quadrant system breaks down each of a team’s games into one of four quadrants. The selection committee still uses RPI to categorize teams, but now wins and losses are also broken down into the quadrant system depending on who you’re playing and where you’re playing them. Here’s how the NCAA breaks down the quadrants:
Quadrant 1: Home games vs. 1-30 RPI teams; Neutral-site games vs. 1-50 RPI; Away games vs. 1-75 RPI
Quadrant 2: Home games vs. 31-75 RPI; Neutral-site games vs. 51-100 RPI; Away games vs. 76-135 RPI
Quadrant 3: Home games vs. 76-160 RPI; Neutral-site games vs. 101-200 RPI; Away games vs. 136-240 RPI
Quadrant 4: Home games vs. 161-plus RPI; Neutral-site games vs. 201-plus RPI; Away games vs. 241-plus RPI
Quadrant 1 wins have the most value in the NCAA Tournament selection committee’s eyes and Quadrant 4 losses are especially frowned upon.
Why did the NCAA Tournament selection committee switch to the quadrant system?
The short answer is the NCAA wanted more value put on wins on the road and in neutral-site games. In the quadrant system a road win vs. an average Power 5 team has more value than it did in previous years.
Here’s how Dan Gavitt, the NCAA’s senior vice president of basketball, explained the switch to the quadrant system to NCAA.com:
“The committee’s decision to focus on, for example, Q1 or Q2 wins, or Quadrant 4 losses, is a direct result of its desire to place greater emphasis on winning away from home, and to demonstrate how difficult it is to earn those wins,” Gavitt said. “A wider net is cast when you play teams on a neutral court, and an even wider one is cast when you play in a true road environment, meaning teams leaving their home arenas to play competition ranked in the 50-75 range have the opportunity to earn a Q1 win. At the same time, if you go on the road to play a team ranked in the low 200s, you aren’t penalized for a loss as much because it will fall in the third quadrant rather than Quadrant 4. Beating elite competition, regardless of where the game is played, will always be important to the committee, but these new quadrants redefine its definition of a quality win.”
NCAA Tournament selection show: Time, TV channel
The selection committee will reveal how the quadrant system worked out when it reveals the bracket on Sunday. The NCAA Tournament selection show will start at 6 p.m. ET on TBS. It will also be streaming on the March Madness Live app.