Frequently Asked Questions: NCAA Tournament

Who goes to the tournament?

For the men: Sixty-four teams go to the 2017 tournament — 43 conference champions and 21 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. The access ratio for the men's tournament is 1 bid for every 9.3 teams and there are 9 teams in Pool B.

You can read more about the 2017 men's tournament here.

For the women: Sixty-four teams go to the tournament — 43 conference champions, 1 team from Pool B (see below) and 20 at-large teams (Pool C). Pool B has 11 teams that are independent or members of conferences that do not have automatic bids, which is enough for one Pool B bid to be allocated to those teams.

You can read more about the 2017 women's tournament here.

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

The teams and pairings will be released on Monday, February 27, 2017.

The 2017 tournament schedule:

Men's tournament
March 3-4: 32 first-round games and 16 second-round games at 16 sites.
March 10-11: Eight Sweet 16 and four Elite 8 games, at four sites.
March 17-18: Semifinals and championship at Salem Civic Center, Salem, Va.

Women's tournament
March 3-4: 32 first-round games and 16 second-round games at 16 sites.
March 10-11: Eight Sweet 16 and four Elite 8 games, at four sites.
March 17-18: Semifinals and championship at Calvin College, Grand Rapids, Mich.


Who decides which teams host the first two weekends?

The NCAA tournament selection commitees build the brackets and decide which schools will host each weekend. While teams with higher regional rankings have a better chance to host, several factors go into hosting decisions including geography, facilities and a school's willingness to host. The NCAA has encouraged the committees to keep travel costs down, especially during the opening weekend, so the committee may give hosting opportunities to a lower seeded team that is closer to the other teams in the pod and reduces the number of flights the NCAA has to cover. If a team is 500 miles or more from the game site, the NCAA will pay for the team's flight.

The host sites for the first two rounds will be announced when the tournament bracket is released on Monday, February 27. The host sites for the Sweet 16 and Elite 8 will be announced on Sunday, March 5.

What men's conferences receive automatic bids?

In 2017, 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 2017, 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
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

How many teams receive a first round bye in the men's tournament?

None. Both brackets are a full 64-team field, starting in 2017.

How many teams go from each region?

It doesn't work that way anymore. Now the at-large 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.

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.

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.

Does strength-of-schedule account for where games are played?

The men's committee factors whether a game is played at home, away or on a neutral court. A multiplier of 1.25 is added to the OWP and OOWP for those games played away from home. A multiplier of 1.0 (no positive or negative effect) is included in the OWP and OOWP for all neutral games. A multiplier of 0.75 is included in the OWP and OOWP for all home games.

The women's committee does not use that multiplier.