The committee is sequestered in a hotel during the selection process, not unlike
a jury for an important court case. This committee must weigh the evidence
provided to them though certain criteria. During the selection process, each
member must submit a list of teams that should, without a doubt, be in the
tournament. This list cannot include the school that the member represents. If
eight members put a team on their list, that team is put into the field of
Here are some of the criteria used by the selection committees:
There is also an "adjusted RPI" used by the selection committee. The
adjustments take into account such factors as wins against highly ranked teams.
This adjusted RPI is not made public.
- Rating Percentage Index (RPI)
- Ranking in national polls
- Conference record
- Road record
- Wins versus ranked opponents
- How a team finishes the regular season
For those teams that aren't invited, there is no appeals process. The
committee's decisions are final. The only conciliation for these teams is the
possibility of playing in the National
Invitational Tournament (NIT), which invites another 32 teams for postseason
Now that you've learned how teams are selected, let's go to the next section
and look at how teams are seeded by the committee.
PlayThe tournament takes longer to play
today than it did in its original format because more teams are invited
The number of teams selected for the men's tournament has grown since
the first tournament in 1939, when only eight teams were invited. The
men's tournament, as we know it today, began in 1985 when the field
expanded to 64 teams. In 2001, a sixty-fifth team was added to the
On the women's side, the first tournament was played in 1982. There
were 32 teams in that tournament. The tournament expanded to 48 in 1989
and then to 64 teams in 1994, which is where it stands today.