Waiting on results from track and field at the national meet and softball results. Haven’t mustered the interest to do the preview on the men’s basketball game for Thursday yet. One of those kind of days so I’ll go through the mailbag and answer a few questions that have come up over the past week. At least I’ll try to.
Most of the questions revolve around the NAIA National Men’s Basketball Tournament and how teams are selected, seeded, etc.
The first question is how are the at-large berths awarded?
The at-large berths are awarded based upon teams finish in the final coaches’ poll. To put it as simply as possible you take the top-30 teams and start at no. 1. If that team has earned an automatic berth through their conference qualification plan you go to no. 2 and continue working your way down until you have found 12 teams that did not qualify via their conference. This year the final team earning an at-large bid was Lourdes at no.26 while Taylor was the first team not taken, four points behind Lourdes in the poll. We’ve been there. It’s not fun.
How come some conferences get one automatic berth and others two?
Simple. Size. Ten teams and above in a conference and you get two teams. Nine and below you get one. You must have at least six teams in a league to receive one automatic berth.
Why does the College of the Ozarks get an automatic if they don’t make it out of their conference?
They get in as the host.
How do the rankings work?
Each conference plus the Association of Independent Institutions conduct a poll weekly and vote for 30 teams, 30 points for the top team in descending order. All 13 voters are also required to submit the order they believe their conference schools should ranked. For example, the final GPAC order had Northwestern no. 1, Dordt no. 2, Midland no.3 and Morningside no. 4.
The voters may not vote these schools out of order. For example. A voter may not rate Dordt 3rd on their ballot and Northwestern 5th and Midland 12th. They all must follow the order submitted by the “local” rater/voter. Clear as mud? I thought so.
How are the teams seeded for the tournament?
For the most part it is based on the final poll with some slight adjustments In some cases the seeding may be adjusted to account for some rules the NAIA has for the first round of the tournament. Some are:
You will not face a team you’ve played during the season in the first round of the tournament. For Dordt those teams include: Bellevue, Jamestown, Dakota State and Valley City State.
Conference teams will be placed on opposite sides of the bracket and if there are three teams in from the same league they will not play before the semifinals. For Dordt that includes Midland and Northwestern.
Hope this helps.