Monday, February 14, 2011

Host Teams and the Brackets

There's a new bracket prediction up.

The first and second rounds of the women's NCAA tournament will be played at 16 predetermined sites hosted by 16 different schools. Unlike in the men's tournament, the women's tournament rules state that if a host school gets into the tournament, that school is required to play at its own site.

This year six out of the AP poll's top seven teams are slated to host: Baylor, Connecticut, Stanford, Tennessee, Xavier and Duke. Most brackets (including mine) seed these teams #1 and #2.

Since no other host team can be grouped with these teams, it means there will not be a host team seeded 8 or 9, and there may be fewer host teams seeded 7 or 10 than the S-curve would predict.

Could this have bracketing implications? Most definitely. The other host teams likely to make the field this year are Louisiana Tech, Penn State, Gonzaga, Ohio State, and Maryland. Maryland looks like a lock for a 3, 4, 5, or 6 seed and would therefore be unaffected, but one of the other four may artificially move up or down depending on bracketing needs.

And I'm sure none of the other potential 2-seeds who are not hosting do not relish the thought of having to play a second round game on the road. I think it's fairly likely that one of the potential 2-seeds (Texas A&M definitely, maybe UCLA, Michigan State or Notre Dame) will end up playing in Columbus, OH; University Park, PA; or possibly even in Bossier City, LA or Spokane, WA.

Whatever the result, Texas A&M will surely be the best team in the tournament to be shipped 1000 miles away for their first two games. Bossier City (the closest first round site not located in Waco) would actually be the most attractive scenario for the Aggies.

Now in: Montana State, Charlotte, Temple, Southern California, Princeton, St. Francis (PA)
Now out: Northern Colorado, Harvard, Robert Morris, Arkansas, Arizona State, Boston College

Conferences with multiple bids:
Big East: 10
Big Ten: 7
ACC: 6
Big 12: 5
SEC: 5
Atlantic 10: 4
PAC-10: 3

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