For Pete's Sake

Here's a primer on how NCAA Tournament committee uses Quadrants to decide the field

In this March 18, 2015, file photo, the NCAA logo is at center court as work continues at The Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh.
In this March 18, 2015, file photo, the NCAA logo is at center court as work continues at The Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh. The Associated Press

Casual college basketball fans may have wondered about a new term being used this season regarding the importance of a team's schedule.


When the selection committee chooses the at-large teams that will fill out the NCAA men’s basketball tournament, it won’t look at RPI rankings. Instead, the members will view a team’s performance in quadrant 1, 2, 3 and 4 games.

This is how things break down:

Quadrant 1: Home games vs. RPI teams ranked in the top 30; neutral games vs. 1-50; away games vs. 1-75.

Quadrant 2: Home vs. 31-75 teams; neutral vs. 51-100; away vs. 76-135.

Quadrant 3: Home vs. 76-160 teams; neutral vs. 101-200; away vs. 136-240.

Quadrant 4: Home vs. 161-plus teams; neutral vs. 201-plus; away vs. 241-plus.

“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,” NCAA senior vice president of basketball Dan Gavitt said on the NCAA website.

“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.”

Bruce Rasmussen, the Creighton athletic director who is the selection committee chairman, told the Associated Press that the tournament games are played on neutral sites, so it helps to see how teams play away from their home court.

For example, Kansas swept the season series from TCU and both were Quadrant 1 wins. However, victories at West Virginia, Texas and Kansas State were Quadrant 1 wins. Beating those same teams at home were all Quadrant 2 wins.

"I think it's really helped us in sorting the teams and it has refined the discussion," Rasmussen told the AP. "And we hope it's more transparent and gives the public a better idea as to what the committee is looking at."

Beyond buzzer-beaters and bracket-busters, the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament is big business. This is a look at some of the numbers—and dollars—surrounding March Madness.