Frequently Asked Questions: NCAA Tournament

Who goes to the tournament?
When are the tournament selections announced and when and where are games played?
What men's conferences receive automatic bids?
What women's conferences receive automatic bids?
When does this tournament expand?
How many teams go from each region?
Where is the women's Final Four?
What is a regional game?
What does the NCAA use to select and seed teams into the tournament?
What did the men's basketball committee do to Strength of Schedule this year?

Who goes to the tournament?

For the men: Sixty-two teams go to the 2016 tournament — 43 conference champions and 19 at-large teams (Pool C). There is no bid set aside specifically for Pool B because there are so few teams not in conference with automatic bids.

For the women: Sixty-four teams go to the tournament — 44 conference champions and 20 at-large teams (Pool C). There are no Pool B bids.

More women's teams go to the tournament because there are more women's basketball programs in Division III.

When are the tournament selections announced and when and where are games played?

The teams and pairings will be released on Monday, February 29, 2016.

The 2016 tournament schedule:

Men's tournament
March 3: Two first-round games involving teams that are playing to face off against a team which received a bye.
March 4-5: Remainder of first round and all second-round games, at 14 first-round sites and two bye teams.
March 11-12: Eight Sweet 16 and four Elite 8 games, at four sites.
March 18-19: Semifinals and championship at Salem Civic Center, Salem, Va.

Women's tournament
March 4-5: 32 first-round games and 16 second-round games, at 16 sites.
March 11-12: Eight Sweet 16 and four Elite 8 games, at four sites.
March 19: Semifinals at Performance Arena in Columbus, Ohio hosted by Capital University.
April 4: Final at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. 

The 2016 men's Final Four is at the Salem Civic Center.

The 2016 women's championship will be played in Indianapolis on the same weekend as the Division I and Division II national championship. The two national semifinal games will be hosted by Capital University in Columbus, Ohio.

What men's conferences receive automatic bids?

In 2016, automatic bids are to be awarded to the champions of:
Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference
American Southwest Conference
Capital Athletic Conference
Centennial Conference
City University of New York Athletic Conference
College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin
Colonial States Athletic Conference
Commonwealth Coast Conference
Empire 8
Great Northeast Athletic Conference
Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference
Iowa Intercollegiate Athletic Conference
Landmark Conference
Liberty League
Little East Conference
Massachusetts State College Athletic Conference
Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association
Middle Atlantic Commonwealth
Middle Atlantic Freedom
Midwest Conference
Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference
New England Collegiate Conference
New England Small College Athletic Conference
New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference
New Jersey Athletic Conference
North Atlantic Conference
North Coast Athletic Conference
North Eastern Athletic Conference
Northern Athletics Conference
Northwest Conference
Ohio Athletic Conference
Old Dominion Athletic Conference
Presidents Athletic Conference
St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference
Skyline Conference
Southern Athletic Association
Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference
Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference
State University of New York Athletic Conference
University Athletic Association
Upper Midwest Athletic Conference
USA South Athletic Conference
Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference

Remember, Pool B is made up of anyone who is not a member of one of these conferences.

What women's conferences receive automatic bids?

In 2016, automatic bids are to be awarded to the champions of:
Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference
American Southwest Conference
Capital Athletic Conference
Centennial Conference
City University of New York Athletic Conference
College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin
Commonwealth Coast Conference
Empire 8
Great Northeast Athletic Conference
Great South Athletic Conference
Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference
Iowa Intercollegiate Athletic Conference
Landmark Conference
Liberty League
Little East Conference
Massachusetts State College Athletic Conference
Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association
Middle Atlantic Commonwealth
Middle Atlantic Freedom
Midwest Conference
Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference
New England Collegiate Conference
New England Small College Athletic Conference
New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference
New Jersey Athletic Conference
North Atlantic Conference
North Coast Athletic Conference
North Eastern Athletic Conference
Northern Athletics Conference
Northwest Conference
Ohio Athletic Conference
Old Dominion Athletic Conference
Pennsylvania Athletic Conference
Presidents Athletic Conference
St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference
Skyline Conference
Southern Athletic Association
Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference
Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference
State University of New York Athletic Conference
University Athletic Association
Upper Midwest Athletic Conference
USA South Athletic Conference
Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference

When does this tournament expand?

The last significant expansion of the NCAA Tournaments was in 2005-06. The tournament will not expand beyond 64 teams. The men's tournament should be expanded to 64 teams once 416 teams are eligible for the tournament; however, NCAA austerity measures for Division III could delay that. In 2016, 411 teams were deemed eligible to participate.

How many teams go from each region?

It doesn't work that way anymore. Now the Pool B and C bids are made on a national basis, meaning it is possible that nine teams could go from the West and only three teams from the East.

In men's: Two teams get first-round byes. In normal tournament years, the teams that play off to face those top seeds will meet in one of Thursday's two first-round games, which would in theory be games between No. 8 and No. 9 seeds. The other 52 teams meet in 13 four-team regionals on Friday and Saturday, effectively stripping home-court advantage from 13 teams that would otherwise have earned it in previous years.

In women's: There are no first-round byes.

Where is the women's Final Four being played?

As the men's basketball tournament did in 2013, all three levels of NCAA women's basketball will play their championships in the same city (Indianapolis) on the same weekend to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the NCAA sponsoring women's basketball.

For Division III that means the two national semifinal games will be played Saturday, March 19 in Columbus, Ohio. The national championship game will be played a little more than two weeks later on Monday, April 4 in Indianapolis.

The women's tournament will return to its usual format with Calvin College hosting in Grand Rapdis, Michigan in 2017 and St. Mary's (Minn.) hosting in Rochester, Minnesota in 2018.

What is a regional game?

A game can be classified as regional in any of three ways. Practically speaking nearly all games between two full members of NCAA Division III are considered regional now.

Both teams are full Division III members (or third- or fourth-year provisional members) and:

1) are in the same Division III member conference or same region as defined by the appropriate Division III basketball committee. That list of regions is listed under the Teams drop-down menu at the top of this page.

2) The teams are within 500 miles of each other via the NCAA's approved mapping software.

3) The teams are within the same NCAA geographical region. Those regions are defined below.

Region 1: Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Vermont.

Region 2: New York, Pennsylvania.

Region 3: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, North Carolina, Ohio, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia.

Region 4: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Washington, Wisconsin, Wyoming.

If the teams are in the same region by any one of these three definitions, it is a regional game.

Some examples: 1. Trinity (Texas) is scheduled to play the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater in a regular season game in Maine. Is this a regional game?
Answer: Yes. It doesn't matter where the game is played, only where the schools are from. Texas and Wisconsin are both in Region 4.

2. Californiia Lutheran plays Illinois College. They are in different NCAA regions and are more than 500 miles apart.
Answer: This is a regional game. California and Illinois are both in geographic region 4.

3. Carnegie Mellon (Pa.) plays Washington U. (Mo.). Answer: This is a regional game.
Although they are in different regions by every definition, both are members of the same Division III member conference, the UAA.

4. Albion (Mich.) plays Grand Valley State (Mich.).
Answer: This is not a regional game. Grand Valley State is not a Division III member. No game against a non-Division III member can ever be a regional game.

5. Wilkes (Pa.) plays Bryn Athyn.
Answer: This is not a regional game. Although both teams are in the same administrative region, Bryn Athyn is a second-year provisional member of Division III, not a full member or third- or fourth-year provisional member.

What does the NCAA use to select and seed teams into the tournament?

These are the selection (and seeding) criteria:

The following primary criteria (not in priority order) will be reviewed:

• Win-loss percentage against Division III opponents.
• Division III head-to-head competition.
• Results versus common Division III opponents.
• Results versus regionally ranked Division III oppononents at the time of selection.
• Division III strength-of-schedule (SOS). 
- Opponents’ Average Winning Percentage (OWP) (weighted 2/3).
- Opponents’ Opponents’ Average Winning Percentage (OOWP) (weighted 1/3).
- Add the two numbers to get the team's strength-of-schedule
- See more info on SOS below

Note:
• Opponents are only considered ranked if ranked at the time of selection.
• Conference postseason contests are included.
• Contests versus provisional and reclassifying members in their third and fourth years shall count in the primary criteria. Provisional and reclassifying members shall remain ineligible for rankings and selection.

If the evaluation of the primary criteria does not result in a decision by the committee, the following secondary criteria (for ranking and selections) will be evaluated:
• Non-Division III win-loss percentage.
• Results versus common non-Division III opponents.

Additionally, input is provided by regional advisory committees for consideration by the Division III men's and women's basketball committees. Coaches’ polls and/or any other outside polls or rankings are not used as a selection criterion by the basketball committee for selection purposes.

How do the committees account for where games are played?

A multiplier of 1.25 shall be added to the OWP and OOWP for those games played away from home. A multiplier of 1.0 (no positive or negative effect) will be included in the OWP and OOWP for all neutral games. A multiplier of 0.75 shall be included in the OWP and OOWP for all home games.