This post is the technical changes to the rule. Click here for it’s likely impact on the OVC.
Starting with this season’s NCAA Tournament, the tournament committee is simplifying how they’ll bracket teams. For the most part, the changes affect how teams in the same conference will be bracketed, after complaints mostly involving the Pac-12 last season.
Under the old rules, teams from the same conference were placed in the bracket in a way where they could not meet until the Elite 8.
Starting this year, it all depends on how many times conference foes met during the regular season:
- Teams that met once can play in the Third Round (Round of 32)
- Teams that met twice can play in the Sweet 16
- Teams that met three times (twice during the season and once during the conference tournament) can play in the Elite 8
Another rule forced the top-3 teams in a given conference to be placed in separate regions. (One of the reason an SEC or ACC team seemingly always got sent out West) This year, the top-4 teams in a given conference have to play in separate regions only if they’re all top-4 seeds.
In addition, rules against rematches will be “relaxed.” They’ll still try to avoid it for teams in the first two rounds, but it won’t be a hard rule, especially for teams in the First Four.
According to Jerry Palm at CBS Sports, the changes are mostly an attempt to have teams hold more closely to their “true seed”