Today, the NCAA officially announced changes to the bracket guidelines for the Men's Basketball Tournament. The main premise of the changes show "a desire to protect the integrity of the overall seed list."
The main changes address two points; when squads from the same conference can meet and how a conference's top 4 teams are seeded.
- When Teams Can Meet
- The Conference's Top Four
This means that teams from the same conference that played only once during the season can now face each other as early as the third round of the championship. Subsequently, teams from the same league that met twice during the year will not potentially play each other until the regional semifinals. Also, teams from the same league that played each other three times during the course of the season cannot play until the regional championship game.
Under the new principles, each of the top four teams selected from a conference will be placed in separate regions, only if they are seeded on the first four lines. This replaces the principle that separated the top three teams from a league regardless of the teams’ placement within the bracket.Additionally, to give the Seeding Committee more flexibility, repeat matchups of non-conference games will try to be avoided in the First & Second Rounds.
Ron Wellman, chair of the Division I Men’s Basketball Committee and director of athletics at Wake Forest noted, "As part of our mission, this committee will always try to improve the process. We believe these changes do just that."