2014 NCAA Tournament: The New Bracketing Principles

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2014 NCAA Tournament: The New Bracketing Principles
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

The NCAA announced new rules and guidelines (H/T ncaa.com) to the way the NCAA Selection Committee will place teams into the bracket, which will take effect starting this season.

The main focus of the new principles is on members of the same conference.

The previous rule was only two members of the same conference could be placed in the same region, unless that conference sent nine teams to the tournament. Those two teams also could not meet until the Elite 8, unless extraordinary circumstances prevented this.

Now, the rule has been altered to allow more flexibility for the Selection Committee.

If members of the same league have played each other three times, including the conference tournament, they will not meet until the Elite 8.

If members of the same league meet only twice, they can meet in the Sweet 16.

And in the event teams in the same league meet only once (or in the rare event, zero times), they can meet as early as the Round of 32 (or for you purists out there, the third round).

A number of bracket moves last season were in part to most of the Pac-12 teams grabbing either a six or 11 seed on the true seed list, forcing some moves. To refresh, Arizona and UCLA drew six seeds, California and Oregon were both true 11s, but wound up being bumped down to 12s.

With these new moves, the Committee can allow more teams to actually be seeded where they should be.

Other interesting changes include a new rule where the first four teams selected from a conference will be placed in different regions if they are on the first four seed lines.

Last year, you had No. 1 Louisville, No. 2 Georgetown, No. 3 Marquette and No. 4 Syracuse. Marquette and Syracuse were both placed in the East Regional. This new rule would've forced Syracuse to the West.

Also, instead of top-five seeds being prevented from a home-court disadvantage, now it is just the top four seed lines.

Non-conference regular season rematches will now be permitted in the Round of 32, which also led to some bracket movement last year, including some of the First Four teams (ex. moving Boise State from an 11 to a 13 to avoid a potential third round meeting with Michigan State and moving Middle Tennessee up from a 13 to an 11 to prevent a potential third round matchup with Mississippi). These will still be avoided, if possible, in the First Four or the second round.

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