This past weekend was Selection Sunday for the 2022 NCAA Tournaments. While 68 teams prepare for March Madness, dozens of others are left without dance partners. Many of the teams left out of the NCAA tournament must now turn their hopes to the NIT.
Each year, Selection Sunday becomes more and more of a spectacle. Not only are the 68 teams announced, but the sending for the brackets is also revealed. This year, both the Men’s and Women’s selections are both revealed on Sunday. The 2022 March Madness brackets were first announced on CBS and ESPN.
Making a March Madness bracket is one of the most popular traditions in college sports. It is also a fun way to make real money betting on college basketball. Everyone has their own strategy for making the best March Madness bracket. Even if your bracket is not perfect, you can still get bragging rights over your friends whose brackets bust early.
Understanding the process for Selection Sunday can help you fill out your March Madness bracket. So, before you make your picks for the NCAA tournament, let’s take a closer look at everything that goes into Selection Sunday.
What is Selection Sunday?
Before we get into which teams made the cut, we need to go over some of the basics of Selection Sunday. First and foremost, when is Selection Sunday? The event is held on the Sunday before the third Thursday in March.
Selection Sunday has gone through many changes over the years. However, its purpose has stayed the same: to pick the teams for the annual NCAA Tournament. March Madness has expanded many times over the years, and the selection process has adapted along with it.
How Are the Teams Chosen for March Madness?
Since the 2016-17 season, 32 conference champions from around the nation have received automatic bids. For both the Men’s and Women’s tournaments, the remaining 36 bids are given out by the selection committee. The 12-person committees consist of athletic directors and conference commissioners from Division-I athletics.
To decide on which teams get the 36 at-large bids, the selection committee uses the NCAA Evaluation Tool (NET). The NET uses team data from throughout the season including game results, strength of schedule, and net offensive and defensive efficiency. It also employs a quadrant system to determine the quality of wins and losses for each team.
Before employing the NET, the selection committees used the RPI. The Men’s selection committee began using the NET in 2018. Meanwhile, the Women’s selection committee did not start using the NET until last season.
How Are Teams Seeded for the NCAA Tournament?
The same selection committees that pick the teams are also in charge of deciding the seeds for March Madness. To ensure that the brackets are completed in time for the event, the committee has to start seeding teams before the final conference championship games are completed.
Many conferences play their championship games on Selection Sunday. As a result, the final teams are not known until an hour before the event starts. The uncertainty adds to the suspense of Selection Sunday.
In an attempt to make the most balanced brackets possible, the selection committees place all 68 teams on an S-curve. A team’s position on the S-curve is determined by multiple factors including their record and NET rating. The top-4 teams become the number 1 seeds and teams ranked 5-8 become the 2nd seeds, etc.
The rankings are also used to determine which teams will play in the First Four. Since 2011, the Men’s First Four has been used to trim the field from 68 teams to 64. The four lowest ranked automatic bid and at-large teams will have to earn their spots in the tournament with a one-game play-in.
Which Teams Are in March Madness this Year?
Now that we have some of the basics out of the way, let’s take a closer look at the teams chosen for the 2022 NCAA tournament. First, we will start with the Men’s tournament.
Gonzaga (West Region) leads the pack as the number 1 overall seed in March Madness. The Bulldogs finished 26-3 and will look to win their first NCAA title after falling short in the final last season. Gonzaga will start against the winners of the Sun Belt Conference, 16th-seeded Georgia State.
Arizona (South), Kansas (Midwest), and Baylor (East) round out the list of number 1 seeds. The Wildcats are 15-1 in their last 16 games and will face the winner of Wright State and Bryant. Kansas will take on the winner of Texas Southern and Texas A&M- Corpus Christi in the first round. The defending champion Baylor Bears will begin their title defense against Norfolk State.
One other notable team is the Blue Devils. Duke will enter Coach K’s last NCAA tournament as the 2nd seed in the West Region. They are scheduled to face No.15 Cal State Fullerton which just won the Big West Conference. Another national title would be a great way to send out one of the greatest college basketball coaches of all time.
On the Women’s side, the South Carolina Gamecocks lead the way as the top seed. South Carolina dropped the SEC championship game to Kentucky, but they will still be the number 1 seed in the Greensboro region. A big reason for their ranking is their top-ranked defense. The Gamecocks will take on the winner of Howard and Incarnate Word.
Stanford, NC State, and Louisville also earned number 1 seeds in the Women’s NCAA Tournament. The reigning champion Stanford Cardinals will take on Montana State in the first round of the Spokane Region. NC State just completed a 3-peat in the ACC and will take on the winner of Longwood and Mount St. Mary’s. Louisville will take on No. 16 Albany in the first round of the Wichita region.
One team to keep an eye on the Women’s NCAA tournament is No. 7 UCF. The Knights are in the Bridgeport region and could make a deep run thanks to their stout defense. UCF will not have an easy path in the NCAA tournament, however. They face in-state rival Florida in round 1 and could have a match up with UConn in round 2.
March Madness is one of the most exciting times of the year. Yesterday on Selection Sunday, the NCAA revealed the brackets for both the Men’s and Women’s tournaments.
Before making your brackets and placing your bets, make sure you check out the top March Madness betting sites in your state. Also, check back here as the tournament goes on for weekly March Madness updates.